Development of insulin-producing cells from primitive biologic precursors

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

13 Scopus citations


PURPOSE OF REVIEW: The differentiation of pluripotent and multipotent stem cells into insulin-producing cells has the potential to create a renewable supply of replacement β cells with tremendous utility in the treatment of diabetes. The purpose of this review is to summarize recent advancements in the field, with emphasis on the limitations of this technology as it relates to the β cell. RECENT FINDINGS: Multiple groups have developed successful in-vitro protocols to differentiate human embryonic stem cells and selected tissue specific stem cells into progenitors capable of insulin production and glucose-stimulated insulin secretion. The resulting cells are immature β cell-like cells that coexpress multiple islet hormones and lack the full complement of genes necessary for normal function. Protocols that include in-vivo maturation in immune-compromised mice produce cells with a more mature phenotype. SUMMARY: Although tremendous progress has been made in differentiating stem cells into insulin-producing cells, there is still more research needed to produce a fully functional adult β cell.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)56-63
Number of pages8
JournalCurrent Opinion in Organ Transplantation
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2009


  • β cells
  • Differentiation protocols
  • Human embryonic stem cells
  • Insulin-producing cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Transplantation

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