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Source of New Pancreatic Islet Cells Identified

Could provide new islets for diabetics

THURSDAY, Dec. 4 (HealthDay News) -- Duct cells are the source of new pancreatic islet cells after birth and after injury in mice, which could provide new islets for diabetics, according to research published online Dec. 3 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Akari Inada, Ph.D., from Harvard Medical School in Boston, and colleagues investigated whether pancreatic duct cells that had differentiated and regressed to a less differentiated phenotype after replication were the source of new pancreatic islet cells observed after birth.

By genetically marking differentiated duct cells in mice and tracing their fate, the researchers found islets and acini in neonatal mice that originated from duct cells. They also found that there were duct cells that were the source of new islets and acini in an adult mouse pancreatic regeneration model after pancreatic injury (ductal ligation).

"This identification of a differentiated pancreatic cell type as an in vivo progenitor of all differentiated pancreatic cell types has implications for a potential expandable source for new islets for replenishment therapy for diabetes," Inada and colleagues conclude.

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