This new open-access paper, published in stem cell research journal, describes the encapsulation of human embryonic stem cells (hESC)-derived pancreatic islets, and their ability to produce insulin in response to glucose levels. Insulin production is achieved without increasing the cell mass, or the escape of the cells from the capsule.
This novel method will enable to minimize the risk of immune response against the hESC-derived pancreatic cells.
To learn more about stem cell differentiation protocols, follow the link:
A research team from the Netherlands led by Dr. Hans Clevers, isolated and grew adult stem cells from the pancreases of mice using a 3-D culture system and studied their in-vitro differentiation potential. Lgr5, a receptor for the Wnt-agonistic R-spondins (RSPOs), serves as an adults stem cells marker in multiple adult organs. Under normal conditions the Wnt signalling pathway is inactive and Lgr5 is not expressed. However, under pathological conditions, such as injury, the Wnt signalling pathway is robustly activated, concomitant with Lgr5 expression in regenerating pancreatic ducts. When cultured in-vitro, mouse pancreatic duct fragmens form cyst-like structures, termed organoids. By modulating the in-vitro culturing conditions, the research showed that they can control the differentiation faith of these pancreatic organoids either towards the generation of pancreatic duct cells or towards the formation hormone-secreting endocrine-like cells. This interesting paper demonstrates the bi-potent nature of pancreatic Lgr5+ cells, and the next step will be to show that human pancreatic stem cells behave the same way and have the same differentiation potential.
In a paper, published in Development journal, researchers from the Danish Stem Cell Centre have shown that they can culture mouse pancreatic cells into expanded, branched structures in a 3D culture.
By manipulating the medium composition they generated either hollow spheres, which are mainly composed of pancreatic progenitors, or complex organoids that spontaneously undergo pancreatic morphogenesis and differentiation.
Manipulation and improvement of culture and expansion techniques
could lead to a more efficient and developed method of creating insulin-releasing beta cells, which will eventually be used for cell therapy of diabetes.
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