Indexed on: 16 Jun '14Published on: 16 Jun '14Published in: Yi chuan = Hereditas / Zhongguo yi chuan xue hui bian ji
Type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM) is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks insulin-secreting β cells, thus leading to an absolute deficiency of insulin. Patients must rely on exogenous insulin, which cannot effectively prevent diabetes complications. Generation of insulin-secreting cells by reprogramming of pluripotent stem cells or somatic cells is a potential approach for the treatment of T1DM. These cells can be used for cell therapy and drug screening, and may eventually provide a cure for the disease. Significant progress has been made in generating insulin-secreting cells through the expression of β cell specific transcription factors in stem cells or somatic cells. In this review, we summarize recent research progress in early pancreas development, β cell specific transcription factors and reprogramming of terminally differentiated cells into β cells.