New beta cells without stem cells?

Two studies find adult pancreatic cells maintain islet population, contradicting a hypothesis that regeneration relies on stem cells

kerry grens
Kerry Grens

Kerry served as The Scientist’s news director until 2021. Before joining The Scientist in 2013, she was a stringer for Reuters Health, the senior health and science reporter at...

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May 28, 2007
Adult non-progenitor cells maintain the population of insulin-secreting ß cells, according to two papers published this month. The findings, produced by two independent groups led by Doug Melton at Harvard University and Jake Kushner at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, contradict a popular hypothesis that ß cell regeneration relies on specialized progenitor cells.Melton's study appears in the June issue of PLoS Biology, and Kushner's paper is in the May issue of Developmental Cell. The data are very convincing, but do not exclude the possibility that a small amount of progenitor cells help regenerate ß cells, Gladys Teitelman at State University of New York, told The Scientist."If you are looking for rare cells that could participate in regeneration, it would be hard to find them," said Teitelman, who has found evidence of ß cell precursor cells in islets after toxic injury to the pancreas."So should we...

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