Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Hormone Prompts Adult Stem Cells To Differentiate Into Islet Cells

Date:
July 17, 2002
Source:
Massachusetts General Hospital
Summary:
Scientists at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) have discovered that a naturally occurring hormone can cause adult islet stem cells to mature into pancreatic beta cells, the insulin-secreting cells that are depleted or compromised in diabetes. The results, which appear in the August issue of Endocrinology, could help researchers design a strategy for reversing the disease.

Scientists at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) have discovered that a naturally occurring hormone can cause adult islet stem cells to mature into pancreatic beta cells, the insulin-secreting cells that are depleted or compromised in diabetes. The results, which appear in the August issue of Endocrinology, could help researchers design a strategy for reversing the disease.

"These findings are important because, in diabetes, beta cells in the pancreas have a limited if any capacity to proliferate, and they die at a steady rate," says Joel Habener, MD, of the MGH Laboratory of Molecular Endocrinology and an investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the paper?s senior author.

Type 1 diabetes is caused by destruction of insulin-producing beta cells of the pancreas in a mistaken attack by the body?s immune system. As a result, patients do not produce the insulin required for proper glucose metabolism and need to take insulin injections. In type 2 diabetes, the most common form of the disease, patient' beta cells do not produce enough insulin at the right time during a meal, and their overall metabolism does not respond correctly to insulin. As a result, their blood glucose levels rise. This so-called hyperglycemia can exert further deleterious effects on beta cells. For both types of diabetes, finding new ways to provide functioning beta cells has been an area of great interest for researchers.

One current strategy being explored for treating type 1 diabetes is transplantation of beta cells, but these cells are in limited supply and may be rejected by the patients' immune systems. Therefore, finding alternative sources of insulin-secreting cells is necessary.

Clinical trials have shown that an intestinal hormone called glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) can provoke beta cells to proliferate and to secrete insulin. Habener and his laboratory now provide evidence that the hormone may also cause islet stem cells to differentiate, or mature, into true beta cells. In a 2001 study, the team identified the islet stem cells called nestin-positive islet-derived progenitor cells (NIPs) and showed that NIPs could develop into insulin-secreting cells. (For information about earlier study, see http://www.mgh.harvard.edu/depts/pubaffairs/releases/030101pancreas.htm.)

The current report finds that NIPs express a receptor protein that binds to GLP-1 and, when activated, induces the NIPs to differentiate into insulin-secreting cells. Locally produced GLP-1 may stimulate the development of beta cells by causing islet stem cells to differentiate. These findings may help researchers devise strategies for using NIPs to treat diabetes.

"If we can transplant beta cells grown from a patient?s own stem cells, the risk of rejection is gone," says Habener. "And now with the addition of GLP-1, we might be able to stimulate those cells to become truly functional." Habener stresses that the NIPs are derived from adult tissues. Therefore, the ethical issues that surround fetal or embryonic stem cells can be avoided.

Habener is working with the cellular therapy company ViaCell to design preclinical studies that will test whether adult islet stem cells might actually prove to be a cure for diabetes. ViaCell has licensed some of Habener?s discoveries and has formed the subsidairy ViaCell Endocrine Science, Inc. to research and develop cellular medicines for human diseases including diabetes.

The other members of the MGH research team are Elizabeth Abraham, PhD, Colin Leech, PhD, Julia Lin, MS, and Henryk Zulewski, PhD. The study was supported by research grants from the National Institutes of Health.

Massachusetts General Hospital, established in 1811, is the original and largest teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School. The MGH conducts the largest hospital-based research program in the United States, with an annual research budget of more than $300 million and major research centers in AIDS, cardiovascular research, cancer, cutaneous biology, transplantation biology and photomedicine. In 1994, the MGH joined with Brigham and Women's Hospital to form Partners HealthCare System, an integrated health care delivery system comprising the two academic medical centers, specialty and community hospitals, a network of physician groups and nonacute and home health services.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Massachusetts General Hospital. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Massachusetts General Hospital. "Hormone Prompts Adult Stem Cells To Differentiate Into Islet Cells." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 July 2002. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/07/020717075426.htm>.
Massachusetts General Hospital. (2002, July 17). Hormone Prompts Adult Stem Cells To Differentiate Into Islet Cells. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/07/020717075426.htm
Massachusetts General Hospital. "Hormone Prompts Adult Stem Cells To Differentiate Into Islet Cells." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/07/020717075426.htm (accessed October 1, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola Cases Keep Coming for Monrovia's Island Hospital

Ebola Cases Keep Coming for Monrovia's Island Hospital

AFP (Oct. 1, 2014) A look inside Monrovia's Island Hospital, a key treatment centre in the fight against Ebola in Liberia's capital city. Duration: 00:34 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Puts Stress on Liberian Health Workers

Ebola Puts Stress on Liberian Health Workers

AP (Oct. 1, 2014) The Ebola outbreak is putting stress on first responders in Liberia. Ambulance drivers say they are struggling with chronic shortages of safety equipment and patients who don't want to go to the hospital. (Oct. 1) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctors Reassure Public Ebola Patient Won't Cause Outbreak

Doctors Reassure Public Ebola Patient Won't Cause Outbreak

Newsy (Sep. 30, 2014) After the announcement that the first U.S. patient had been diagnosed with Ebola, doctors were quick to say a U.S. outbreak is highly unlikely. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
TX Hospital Confirms Patient Admitted With Ebola

TX Hospital Confirms Patient Admitted With Ebola

AP (Sep. 30, 2014) Medical officials from Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital confirm they are treating a patient with the Ebola virus, the first case found in the US. (Sept. 30 Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins