Effect of FIGF overexpression on liver cells transforming to insulin-producing cells

Research paper by Yaqin He, Xiaoliang Xie, Xiaoyan Li, Shikuo Rong, Yukui Li, Zhenhui Lu

Indexed on: 06 Nov '19Published on: 06 Nov '19Published in: Journal of Biosciences


Limitation in the number of insulin-producing pancreatic β-cells is a typical feature of diabetes. It has been indicated that activating pancreatic transcription factors can promote the transformation of hepatocytes into insulin-secreting β-like cells, indicating that direct hepatocyte differentiation seems promising as a treatment for diabetes. Nevertheless, the reprogramming efficiency still remains low. Our previous study found that the expression of c-fos-induced growth factor (FIGF) was increased in the pancreatic tissues in partial pancreatectomy mice compared to that in normal mice. Here, we observed that treatment with Ad-FIGF was found to enhance MafA and Ngn3-induced reprogramming of BNL CL.2 cells to β-like cells with the ability of secreting insulin. And FIGF overexpression increased the levels of histone H3/H4 acetylation at MafA and Ngn3 promoter regions in BNL CL.2 cells. Importantly, in vivo study further confirmed that forced expression of FIGF facilitated the insulin expression and decreased the blood glucose levels in STZ mice. These results strengthen the possibility of developing cell-based therapies for diabetes through utilizing β-like cells derived from non-insulin-secreting cells.