#Diabetes. Skin Cells turned into Insulin-Producing Pancreas Cells.Scientists developed a technique in animal models that could replenish insulin-producing β-cells, the very same cells destroyed by the disease.
_ Dr. Sheng Ding, a co-author of the study, collected skin cells from laboratory mice and treated them with a unique 'cocktail' of molecules and reprogramming factors in order to transform the cells into endoderm-like cells, which are found in early embryos._
"Using another chemical cocktail, we then transformed these endoderm-like cells into cells that mimicked early pancreas-like cells, which we called PPLC's," said Ke Li, the paper's lead author. "Our initial goal was to see whether we could coax these PPLC's to mature into cells that, like β-cells, respond to the correct chemical signals and-most importantly-secrete insulin. And our initial experiments, performed in a petri dish, revealed that they did."The team then tested their results on live animals by transplanting the PPLC's into mice with hyperglycemia, a key indicator of diabetes. Eight weeks post-transplant the researchers saw a dramatic change: the PPLC's had given rise to functional, insulin-secreting β-cells.
Read more: http://goo.gl/n1PLu2
Paper: Small Molecules Facilitate the Reprogramming of Mouse Fibroblasts into Pancreatic Lineages. Ke Li, Saiyong Zhu, Holger A. Russ, Shaohua Xu, Tao Xu, Yu Zhang, Tianhua Ma, Matthias Hebrok, Sheng Ding. Cell Stem Cell - 6 February 2014 (Vol. 14, Issue 2, pp. 228-236).
Caption: Mouse pancreatic islet as seen by light microscopy. Beta cells can be recognised by the green insulin staining. Glucagon is labelled in red and the nuclei in blue. (Wikipedia)