HCPLive Network

Researchers Discover New Method of Beta Cell Rejuvenation

Scientists at Stanford University have identified a pathway responsible for age-related beta cell decline.  The long time JDRF-funded researchers have also shown the ability to alter this pathway and coax the older cells into dividing as frequently as they did when they were younger.

The research appeared in the October 12 issue of Nature and provides the greatest understanding of the molecular and biochemical systems attributed to the halt of beta cell division with age.  These findings could encourage more research into the use of beta cell regeneration as a viable treatment for both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes.
    
Led by Seung Kim, MD, PhD., the studies showed that the PDGF protein, or platelet derived growth factor, and its receptors send beta cells signals to divide through a pathway that controls the levels of two proteins in the beta cell nucleus – the area where division occurs.  Dr. Kim found that PDGF binds to its receptor on the beta cell’s surface and controls the level of these regulating proteins allowing for cell division in the cells of young mice.   In older mice, the beta cells were shown to lose these receptors, preventing cell divide.  Through the increase of these PDGF receptors, Dr. Kim and his team discovered that they could stimulate the old cells tocontinue division. 

Further tests confirmed that this beta cell proliferation pathway is also present within human beta cells.  Results showed a similarly direct correlation in human cells between PDGF receptor presence and the development of new cells as was found in mice.

Attempts to rejuvenate beta cell production before the discovery of the PDGF receptors have all been met with little success.  "You can get these cells to grow but they will literally lose their specific identity as a beta cell," Dr. Kim says. "They will either stop making insulin, or they'll grow just fine but they will grow uncontrollably or into other cell types."

 "With these advanced technologies, we are now able to get a comprehensive view-at the genetic level-of the changes beta cells undergo as they age, and we can track these changes and study them in a systematic way," he continues.  "By understanding what genes are turned on and off in a young beta cell, we can try to recreate that genetic environment in older beta cells such that they divide in a desirable, controlled manner."

This greater understanding of PDGF receptors and their relationship with beta cell production could enable researchers to discover new effective methods of replacing lost beta cells and treating diabetes.
 
Source: JDRF


Further Reading
Carol Burke, MD, FACG, FASGE, talks about her phase-3 placebo-controlled trial of Celecoxib in pediatric subjects with familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) at the 2014 ACG Annual Meeting in Philadelphia, PA.
Carol Burke, MD, FACG, FASGE, discusses pediatric familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) and colorectal cancer at the 2014 ACG Annual Scientific Meeting in Philadelphia, PA.
The CDC announces monitoring for all passengers from 3 Ebola-stricken nations, part of increased surveillance efforts as new Ebola czar Ron Klain starts firs day of work. Meanwhile, Bentley, the dog confined because his owner Dallas nurse Nina Pham has the virus, is cleared to go home. NBC medical editor Nancy Snyderman released from her Princeton, NJ home quarantine, and the NBC cameraman stricken with the disease is now Ebola-free.
Drug coupons could reduce patients' out-of-pocket costs by 60 percent, according to a study published in the October issue of Health Affairs.
Depressive symptoms are associated with poorer long-term outcome in patients undergoing surgery for lumbar spinal stenosis (LSS), according to research published in the Oct. 1 issue of The Spine Journal.
Maternal eating disorders are associated with adverse pregnancy, obstetric, and perinatal health outcomes, according to a study published in the October issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology.
High-risk asymptomatic patients with diabetes mellitus and normal myocardial perfusion single-photon emission computed tomography have a low rate of first manifestations of coronary artery disease; however, patients with DM and abnormal MPS have a seven-fold higher rate of progression to overt or silent CAD despite therapy. These findings were published in the Oct. 1 issue of JACC: Cardiovascular Imaging.
More Reading