Possible stem cells in pancreas identified
University of Toronto researchers have identified individual cells in the adult mouse pancreas capable of generating insulin-producing beta cells.
Their research, published Aug. 22 in the online edition of Nature Biotechnology, offers hope for the millions of diabetics worldwide who take insulin injections to compensate for defective pancreatic islets. Healthy islets, made up largely of beta cells, release insulin to help regulate the bodys blood sugar levels.
"People have been intensely searching for pancreatic stem cells for a while now, and so our discovery of precursor cells within the adult pancreas that are capable of making new pancreatic cells is very exciting," says Simon Smukler, a PhD candidate in U of Ts Department of Medical Genetics and Microbiology, who was one of the lead researchers. He conducted the study along with U of T MD/PhD candidate Raewyn Seaberg and their supervisor, Professor Derek van der Kooy.
The scientists are now hoping to extend their research to prove that these precursor cells are truly stem cells. True stem cells must exhibit two properties: the ability to renew themselves over the entire life of the organism and some ability for the parent cell to generate varied cell types – for example islet cells and exocrine cells. Pancreatic stem cells could provide a plentiful supply of beta cells for transplant treatments.
A finding Smukler considers equally exciting is their discovery that these pancreatic cells generated both beta cells and neurons, cells associated with the workings of the brain and the nervous system.
"The existing dogma regarding how development occurs states that fairly early in development, there is a distinction made between a group of cells destined to make the brain and another group destined to make the pancreas," he says. "The idea that a single cell within the pancreas could make both beta cells and neurons is intriguing."
U of T has a proud history of both diabetes and stem-cell research. Frederick Banting and Charles Best discovered insulin here in the 1920s, while years later, Drs. Ernest McCulloch and James Till first described the stem-cell concept.
This study was supported by the Stem Cell Network and the Canadian Institutes for Health Research. Zeenat Ashgar and Michael Wheeler from the U of Ts Department of Physiology, Grigori Enikolopov of New Yorks Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and Stem Cell Network members Timothy Kieffer of the University of British Columbia and Gregory Korbutt of the University of Alberta also contributed to the research.
"This remarkable discovery is a case study in cross-Canada cooperation," says Dr. Ron Worton, Scientific Director of the Stem Cell Network. "The research offers considerable new hope for people living with diabetes."
Elaine Smith | EurekAlert!
The most recent press releases about innovation >>>
Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:
An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.
Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...
Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.
Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...
Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.
As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...
Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.
With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...
Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine
Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...