Islet Precursor Cells in Adult Pancreatic Islets

  • Gladys Teitelman
  • Irem Nasir
Part of the Contemporary Endocrinology book series (COE)


The search for new sources of β cells is driven by the shortage of islets of Langerhans suitable for replacement therapy for type I diabetes. Recent advances in stem cell research, described in other sections of this book, have led to promising sources of insulin-producing cells (1, 2, 3, 4, 5). In addition, significant progress in the elucidation of the molecular program that guides the differentiation of islet cells during development (6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22) will certainly provide tools to expand the population of embryonic β-precursor cells and promote their differentiation into mature, insulin-producing cells. The adult pancreas is another potential source of β-precursor cells. The existence of islet progenitor cells in mature pancreas can be inferred from the fact that new islets are normally formed during postnatal life (23,24) and that a dramatic increase in islet number occurs in response to various stimuli (25, 26, 27). The presence of “endocrine stem/progenitor cells” could not only provide a source of cells suitable for transplantation, but also could replenish the β-cell population that has been depleted by injury or disease.


Pancreatic Duct Islet Cell Pancreatic Islet Endocrine Cell Pancreatic Polypeptide 
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Copyright information

© Humana Press Inc., Totowa, NJ 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gladys Teitelman
    • 1
  • Irem Nasir
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of AnatomyDownstate Medical Center, SUNYBrooklyn

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