Understanding pancreas development for β-cell repair and replacement therapies

Aurelia Raducanu, Heiko Lickert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


The lack or dysfunction of insulin-producing β-cells is the cause of all forms of diabetes. In vitro generation of β-cells from pluripotent stem cells for cell-replacement therapy or triggering endogenous mechanisms of β-cell repair have great potential in the field of regenerative medicine. Both approaches rely on a thorough understanding of β-cell development and homeostasis. Here, we briefly summarize the current knowledge of β-cell differentiation during pancreas development in the mouse. Furthermore, we describe how this knowledge is translated to instruct differentiation of both mouse and human pluripotent stem cells towards the β-cell lineage. Finally, we shortly summarize the current efforts to identify stem or progenitor cells in the adult pancreatic organ and to harness the endogenous regenerative potential. Understanding development and regeneration of β-cells already led to identification of molecular targets for therapy and informed on pathomechanisms of diabetes. In the future might lead to β-cell repair and replacement therapies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)481-489
Number of pages9
JournalCurrent Diabetes Reports
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Development
  • Diabetes
  • Differentiation
  • Embryonic stem cells
  • Pancreas
  • Progenitor cells
  • Regeneration
  • Signaling
  • Transcription factors
  • β-cell


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