Indexed on: 23 Feb '17Published on: 23 Feb '17Published in: Diabetes
Among the therapeutic avenues being explored for replacement of the functional islet β-cell mass lost in Type 1 diabetes (T1D), reprogramming of adult cell types into new β-cells has been actively pursued. Notably, mouse islet α-cells will transdifferentiate into β-cells under conditions of near β-cell loss, a condition similar to T1D. Moreover, human islet α-cells also appear to poised for reprogramming into insulin(+) cells. Here we have generated transgenic mice conditionally expressing the islet β-cell-enriched Mafa and/or Pdx1 transcription factors to examine their potential to transdifferentiate embryonic pan-islet cell Ngn3(+) progenitors and the later glucagon(+) α-cell population into β-cells. Mafa was found to both potentiate the ability of Pdx1 to induce β-cell formation from Ngn3(+) endocrine precursors, and enable Pdx1 to produce β-cells from α-cells. These results provide valuable insight into the fundamental mechanisms influencing islet cell plasticity in vivo.