Published online Dec 31, 2009. doi: 10.4252/wjsc.v1.i1.36
Revised: October 15, 2009
Accepted: October 22, 2009
Published online: December 31, 2009
The success achieved over the last decade with islet transplantation has intensified interest in treating diabetes, not only by cell transplantation, but also by stem cells. The formation of insulin-producing cells from pancreatic duct, acinar, and liver cells is an active area of investigation. Protocols for the in vitro differentiation of embryonic stem (ES) cells based on normal developmental processes, have generated insulin-producing cells, though at low efficiency and without full responsiveness to extracellular levels of glucose. Induced pluripotent stem cells, which have been generated from somatic cells by introducing Oct3/4, Sox2, Klf4, and c-Myc, and which are similar to ES cells in morphology, gene expression, epigenetic status and differentiation, can also differentiate into insulin-producing cells. Overexpression of embryonic transcription factors in stem cells could efficiently induce their differentiation into insulin-expressing cells. The purpose of this review is to demonstrate recent progress in the research for new sources of β-cells, and to discuss strategies for the treatment of diabetes.