Diabetics: help with reprocessed skin cells

Stem Cell Research: New Therapy Could Make Insulin Insuls Needless in the Future

10.02.2014

US researchers have succeeded in reprogramming skin cells in mice with a simplified procedure to insulin-producing cells of the pancreas. The scientists are hoping that one day diabetes type 1 will be therapies.

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Skin cells reprogrammed to insulin-producing cells
US researchers have used a simplified procedure to transform skin cells into mice into insulin-producing cells. The Shengding team from the University of California, San Francisco, was involved in the process of rejuvenating cells into pluripotent stem cells( from which each cell can develop), thus avoiding the associated risk of cancer. The scientists hoped that this way one day diabetes type 1 can be healed. They presented their work a few days ago in the journal "Cell Stem Cell".

About 300,000 Germans with type 1 diabetes
Congenital diabetes( type 1) is an autoimmune disease in which the body's immune system attacks and destroys the insulin-producing beta cells of the pancreas through an inflammatory reaction( insulitis).As a result, insulin deficiency is increasingly developing, leading to a lack of substrate in the cells, an increase in the blood glucose level, hyperacidity of the blood, loss of water and nutrients, and rapid weight loss. If the person concerned does not receive treatment, a life-threatening disease can develop, the ketoacidotic coma. The cause of the disease is the involvement of many factors, which are caused by a genetic factor and by environmental factors. Currently about 300,000 Germans suffer from type 1 diabetes.

Patients who are affected must inject insulin
In order to control the blood glucose level, the affected person usually has to inject insulin. It would therefore be much better if patients could again produce insulin independently with their own cells without the risk of a rejection reaction. With a chemical cocktail the Californian scientists did not rejuvenate certain skin cells( fibroblasts) in mice to the pluripotent ground stage, but only to a cell plane from which different organs can grow, including the pancreas.

Altered Cells Used in Diabetic Mice
In a communication from the university, Kei is quoted as saying, "With another chemical cocktail, we transformed these endoderm-like cells into cells similar to early pancreatic cells."we will see if we are able to mature these PPLCs( pancreatic progenitor-like cells) into cells that react like beta cells to chemical signals and - above all - form insulin. Our initial experiments in the Petrischale showed that this worked. "The researchers used these altered cells in a second step diabetic mice. According to Li, the glucose levels in the animals decreased after one week and when the scientists withdrew the cells, the blood glucose level rose again.
One week after the transplant, studies showed that the PPLCs produced functional beta cells that formed insulin. The researchers believe that this is a proof that such a procedure could serve as a therapy one day. Heiko Lickert from the Institute for Diabetes and Regenerative Research at the Helmholtz Zentrum München explained that the procedure showed that it was possible to avoid the induction of pluripotent stem cells induced in beta cells and the associated tumor risk: "The researchers do not go all the way backup to pluripotency, but only to endoderm-like cells. "Although the study shows that beta cells can be produced," the efficiency of beta cell differentiation is still low, "Lickert says. The Institute for Diabetes and Regenerative Research at the Helmholtz Zentrum München is participating with eight other project partners in the newly launched European research project HumEn, which aims to promote the production of insulin-producing beta cells from stem cells.(ad)

Picture: Jörg Brinckheger / pixelio.de

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