Suzanne Bertera

Suzanne Bertera
Allegheny Health Network

Doctor of Philosophy

About

101
Publications
12,440
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4,087
Citations
Citations since 2017
18 Research Items
1275 Citations
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2017201820192020202120222023050100150200
2017201820192020202120222023050100150200
2017201820192020202120222023050100150200
Introduction
Skills and Expertise

Publications

Publications (101)
Article
Diabetes is an emerging global epidemic that affects more that 285 million people worldwide. Engineering of endocrine pancreas tissue holds great promise for the future of diabetes therapy. Here we demonstrate the feasibility of re-engineering decellularized organ scaffolds using regenerative cell source. We differentiated human pluripotent stem ce...
Article
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Hematopoietic humanized (hu) mice are powerful tools for modeling the action of human immune system and are widely used for preclinical studies and drug discovery. However, generating a functional human T cell compartment in hu mice remains challenging, primarily due to the species-related differences between human and mouse thymus. While engraftin...
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Bromocriptine is approved as a diabetes therapy, yet its therapeutic mechanisms remain unclear. Though bromocriptine’s actions have been mainly attributed to stimulation of brain dopamine D2 receptors (D2R), bromocriptine also targets the pancreas. Here, we employ bromocriptine as a tool to elucidate roles of catecholamine signaling in regulating p...
Article
Dopaminergic agonism effectively treats dysglycemia, with dopaminergic agonist bromocriptine approved as a type 2 diabetes therapy. Though bromocriptine’s actions have been mainly attributed to stimulation of dopamine D2 receptors (D2R) in the brain, we previously showed that bromocriptine also targets metabolically-relevant peripheral tissues incl...
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BACKGROUND SARS-CoV-2 infection or COVID-19 disease has been linked to the onset of diabetes and metabolic dysregulation because it has been suggested that viral entry proteins, specifically ACE2 and TMPRSS2, are expressed in the exocrine cells and ductal epithelium of the pancreas. Because of the unknown effect this can have on islet function, the...
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Islet transplantation can restore glycemic control in patients with type 1 diabetes. Using this procedure, the early stages of engraftment are often crucial to long-term islet function, and outcomes are not always successful. Numerous studies have shown that mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) facilitate islet graft function. However, experimental data c...
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Clinical islet transplantation was first realized over four decades ago at the University of Minnesota. Autologous islet transplantation is now widely recognized as a treatment to prevent diabetes in patients after pancreas excision and is offered at major transplant centers throughout the United States and the world. Type 1 diabetes represents a m...
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Dopamine (DA) and norepinephrine (NE) are catecholamines primarily studied in the central nervous system that also act in the pancreas as peripheral regulators of metabolism. Pancreatic catecholamine signaling has also been increasingly implicated as a mechanism responsible for the metabolic disturbances produced by antipsychotic drugs (APDs). Crit...
Article
Pluripotent stem cells are promising source of cells for tissue engineering, regenerative medicine and drug discovery applications. The process of stem cell differentiation is regulated by multi-parametric cues from the surrounding microenvironment, one of the critical one being cell interaction with extracellular matrix (ECM). The ECM is a complex...
Chapter
The advancement toward a clinical application for porcine islets to cure diabetes in humans must include reproducible long-term successes in non-human primate (NHP) models. Many dedicated researchers around the world are continuing to work toward this goal. In this chapter, we describe procedures for islet isolation of pancreatic islets from adult...
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Background: Islet transplantation has progressively become a safe alternative to pancreas transplantation for the treatment of type 1 diabetes. However, the long-term results of islet transplantation could be significantly increased by improving the quality of the islet isolation technique even exploring alternative islet transplantation sites to...
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Islet transplantation has been proposed to be a potential treatment for type 1 diabetes. Recent compelling evidence indicates that intravascular islet infusion is far from ideal and therefore, the omentum is re-emerging as a potentially valuable site for islet transplantation. This experiment requires the isolation of high quality islets and the im...
Article
Whole organ engineering has emerged as a promising alternative avenue to fill the gap of donor organ shortage in organ transplantation. Recent breakthroughs in the decellularization of solid organs and repopulation with desired cell populations have generated neo-organ constructs with promising functional outcomes. The realization of this goal requ...
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Milestones in the history of diabetes therapy include the discovery of insulin and successful methods of beta cell replacement including whole pancreas and islet cell transplantation options. While pancreas transplantation remains the gold standard for patients who have difficulty controlling their symptoms with exogenous insulin, islet allotranspl...
Article
Thymic epithelial cells (TECs), the primary stromal population in the thymus, are critical to establish the microenvironments required for generating self-tolerant, pathogen-responsive T cells. However, due to the inaccessibility of the thoracic cavity and the fragility of TECs, manipulating the thymus to modulate adaptive immune responses remains...
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Thymus involution, associated with aging or pathological insults, results in diminished output of mature T-cells. Restoring the function of a failing thymus is crucial to maintain effective T cell-mediated acquired immune response against invading pathogens. However, thymus regeneration and revitalization proved to be challenging, largely due to th...
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Type 1 diabetes (T1D) is an autoimmune disease characterized by pancreatic β cell destruction induced by islet reactive T cells that have escaped central tolerance. Many physiological and environmental triggers associated with T1D result in β cell endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress and dysfunction, increasing the potential for abnormal post-translat...
Conference Paper
Extended use of immunosuppression is a major setback in organ transplantation. Hence, establishment of donor specific immune unresponsiveness, without the need of immunosuppression, is critical and remains a major challenge. Immunological tolerance is known to occur through two main mechanisms: central (thymus) and peripheral. Our lab has recently...
Article
A functional thymus is crucial to produce mature, self-tolerant T cells. Crosstalk between the residing thymic stromal cells, especially the predominant population of thymic epithelial cells (TECs), and the developing thymocytes is essential for thymopoiesis. The survival and proliferation of TECs depend on a unique 3 dimensional (3-D) configuratio...
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Transplantation of islets into the gastric submucosal space (GSMS) has several advantages (e.g., avoidance of the instant blood-mediated inflammatory response [IBMIR], ability to biopsy). The aim of this study was to determine whether endoscopic biopsy of islet allografts transplanted into the GSMS in diabetic pigs can provide histopathological and...
Article
Pig islet grafts have been successful in treating diabetes in animal models. One remaining question is whether neonatal pig isletlike cell clusters (NICC) are resistant to the early loss of islets from the instant blood-mediated inflammatory reaction (IBMIR). Neonatal isletlike cell clusters were harvested from three groups of piglets-(i) wild-type...
Article
Type 1 diabetes (T1D) is an autoimmune disease in which autoreactive T cells target and destroy islet β cells. The events that break peripheral tolerance in patients genetically predisposed to autoimmunity are poorly understood. Many physiological and environmental triggers associated with T1D cause endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress, which may incr...
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Full-text available
One of the major obstacles in organ transplantation is to establish immune tolerance of allografts. While immunosuppressive drugs can prevent graft rejection to a certain degree, their efficacies are limited, transient, and associated with severe side effects. Induction of thymic central tolerance to allografts remains challenging, largely due to t...
Article
Herein, we highlight the technical feasibility of generating a functional mini thymus with a novel hydrogel system, based on a peptide-based self-assembly platform that can induce the formation of 3-D thymic epithelial cell (TEC) clusters. Amphiphilic peptide EAK16-II co-assembled with its histidinylated analogue EAKIIH6 into beta-sheet fibrils. Wh...
Article
The generation of pigs with genetic modifications has significantly advanced the field of xenotransplantation. New genetically engineered pigs were produced on an α1,3-galactosyltransferase gene-knockout background with ubiquitous expression of human CD46, with islet beta cell-specific expression of human tissue factor pathway inhibitor and/or huma...
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Streptozotocin (STZ) is used to induce diabetes in experimental animals. It has a variety of adverse effects, ranging from nausea, emesis, and weight loss to liver damage, renal failure, and metabolic acidosis. STZ also has effects on the immune system, being associated with lymphopenia in rodents, the mechanism of which is not fully understood. We...
Article
Type 1 diabetes (T1D) is an autoimmune disease, largely mediated by autoreactive T cells, in which islet β cells are destroyed. The events that break peripheral tolerance in individuals genetically predisposed to autoimmunity are poorly understood. Many physiological and environmental triggers associated with T1D, such as viral infection, chemicals...
Conference Paper
Introduction: Type I Diabetes affects over 1 million people in the United States. While islet transplantation has proved to be a promising therapeutic strategy, there are still limitations both in maintaining a viable culture of primary islets and suitable scaffold for transplantation to ensure islet viability and functionality. We hypothesize that...
Article
Approximately 285 million people worldwide suffer from diabetes, with insulin supplementation as the most common treatment measure. Regenerative medicine approaches such as a bioengineered pancreas has been proposed as potential therapeutic alternatives. A bioengineered pancreas will benefit from the development of a bioscaffold that supports and e...
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Full-text available
Isolation and transplantation of rodent islets are frequently used as a tool for predicting the behavior of new protocols for islet allotransplants in type 1 diabetes patients. Bovine serum albumin (BSA) is recognized as a protease inhibitor possibly protecting function and viability in islets. For this study, the addition of 0.2% BSA to the isolat...
Conference Paper
Introduction: Type I Diabetes affects over 1 million people in the United States. While islet transplantation has proved to be a promising therapeutic strategy, it is still hindered by lack of donor tissue. Embryonic stem cells (ESCs) have emerged as an alternative cell source owing to its virtually unlimited replicative capacity and the potential...
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Full-text available
Previously, we established a model in which physiologically adequate function of the autologous β cells was recovered in non-obese diabetic (NOD) mice after the onset of hyperglycemia by rendering them hemopoietic chimera. These mice were termed antea-diabetic. In the current study, we addressed the role of T regulatory (Treg) cells in the mechanis...
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Because long-term islet transplant outcomes are poor, islet allografts are not standard insulin replacement therapy thereby limiting the procedure to adults with a history of extreme glucose dysregulation and hypoglycemia unawareness. In this study we examined the use of prophylactic immunotherapy to prevent islet allograft rejection in the absence...
Conference Paper
Background: Islets obtained from genetically-engineered (GE) pigs with Gal-knockout (GTKO) and high expression of hCD46 have shown long-term function and successful correction of insulin independence in nonhuman primates (NHP). Two anti-coagulant genes (hTFPI and hCD39), and an immunosuppressive gene (pCTLA4Ig) have been added to the GTKO/hCD46 bac...
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Chronic hyperglycemia exerts a deleterious effect on endothelium, contributing to endothelial dysfunction and microvascular complications in poorly controlled diabetes. To understand the underlying mechanism, we studied the effect of endothelin-1 (ET-1) on endothelial production of Forkhead box O1 (FOXO1), a forkhead transcription factor that plays...
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Chronic pancreatitis is an inflammatory disease of the pancreas that causes permanent changes in the function and structure of the pancreas. It is most commonly a complication of cystic fibrosis or due to a genetic predisposition. Chronic pancreatitis generally presents symptomatically as recurrent abdominal pain, which becomes persistent over time...
Article
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Type-I diabetes is a chronic disease mediated by autoimmune destruction of insulin-producing β-cells. Although progress has been made towards improving diabetes-associated pathologies and the quality of life for those living with diabetes, no therapy has been effective at eliminating disease manifestations or reversing disease progression. Here, we...
Conference Paper
Introduction: Type I Diabetes affects over 1 million people in the United States. While islet transplantation has proved to be a promising therapeutic strategy, there are still limitations both in maintaining a viable culture of primary islets and a suitable scaffold for transplantation to ensure islet viability and functionality. We hypothesize th...
Article
Full-text available
The therapy of type 1 diabetes is an open challenging problem. The restoration of normoglycemia and insulin independence in immunosuppressed type 1 diabetic recipients of islet allotransplantation has shown the potential of a cell-based diabetes therapy. Even if successful, this approach poses a problem of scarce tissue supply. Xenotransplantation...
Article
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Previous studies by our group, using an experimental autoimmune thyroiditis (EAT) model in Strain 13 inbred guinea pigs, resulted in T cell-mediated delayed hypersensitivity; however, autoantibodies proved not to be cytotoxic to thyroid epithelial cells in the presence or absence of complement proteins. Albeit, T cell-mediated lymphocyte cytotoxici...
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Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS) is a multisystem disorder caused by genetic loss of function of a cluster of imprinted, paternally expressed genes. Neonatal failure to thrive in PWS is followed by childhood-onset hyperphagia and obesity among other endocrine and behavioral abnormalities. PWS is typically assumed to be caused by an unknown hypothalamic-...
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Non-human primates (NHPs) are a very valuable experimental model for diabetes research studies including experimental pancreatic islet transplantation. In particular NHPs are the recipients of choice to validate pigs as possible source of pancreatic islets. The aim of this study was to quantify glycated hemoglobin percentage in NHPs and to assess w...
Article
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Forkhead box O1 (FoxO1) is a transcription factor that mediates the inhibitory effect of insulin on target genes in hepatic metabolism. Hepatic FoxO1 activity is up-regulated to promote glucose production during fasting and is suppressed to limit postprandial glucose excursion after meals. Increased FoxO1 activity augments the expression of insulin...
Article
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Because of reduced antioxidant defenses, beta-cells are especially vulnerable to free radical and inflammatory damage. Commonly used antirejection drugs are excellent at inhibiting the adaptive immune response; however, most are harmful to islets and do not protect well from reactive oxygen species and inflammation resulting from islet isolation an...
Article
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Islet transplantation is a promising treatment for diabetes but long-term success is limited by progressive graft loss. Aggregates of the beta cell peptide islet amyloid polypeptide (IAPP) promote beta cell apoptosis and rapid amyloid formation occurs in transplanted islets. Porcine islets are an attractive alternative islet source as they demonstr...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Culturing of isolated human islets is a challenge, with many commercially available media promising superior culturing abilities. We tested the effectiveness of the currently used media CMRL 1066 compared to two media produced by Prodo Laboratories: cGMP Prodo Islet Medium (Standard) and cGMP Prodo Islet Medium (Recovery). Isolated human islets wer...
Article
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Type 1 diabetes (T1D) is a T cell-mediated autoimmune disease that targets the beta-cells of the pancreas. We investigated the ability of soluble galectin-1 (gal-1), an endogenous lectin that promotes T cell apoptosis, to down-regulate the T cell response that destroys the pancreatic beta-cells. We demonstrated that in nonobese diabetic (NOD) mice,...
Article
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Successful islet transplantation depends on the infusion of sufficiently large quantities of islets, but only a small fraction of implanted islets become engrafted. The underlying mechanisms remain elusive. To probe the mechanism of islet revascularization, we determined the effect of angiopoietin-1 (Ang-1), a proangiogenic and antiapoptotic factor...
Article
The success of pancreatic islet transplantation is limited because of immune rejection of allogeneic transplanted tissue and potential adverse side effects of nonspecific immunosuppression. Local expression of an immunosuppressive agent at the site of islet transplant could promote long-term engraftment without associated systemic side effects. We...
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Estrogens are essential for fertility and also have important effects on regulation of adiposity and the euglycemic state. We report here that lipin1, a candidate gene for lipodystrophy and obesity that is a phosphatidic acid phosphatase critical in regulation of cellular levels of diacylglycerol and triacylglycerol and a key regulator of lipid uti...
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Understanding mechanisms by which glibenclamide stimulates insulin release is important, particularly given recent promising treatment by glibenclamide of permanent neonatal diabetic subjects. Antidiabetic sulfonylureas are thought to stimulate insulin secretion solely by inhibiting their high-affinity ATP-sensitive potassium (K(ATP)) channel recep...
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Dendritic cell-derived indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO) suppresses naive T cell proliferation and induces their apoptosis by catalyzing tryptophan, and hence is essential for the maintenance of peripheral tolerance. However, it is not known whether memory T cells are subject to the regulation by IDO-mediated tryptophan catabolism, as memory T cell...
Article
Pig islets have been proposed as an alternative to human islets for clinical use, but their use is limited by rejection. The availability of genetically modified pigs devoid of alpha1,3-galactosyltransferase might provide islets more suitable for xenotransplantation. To limit the costs involved in the logistics and health care of pigs for clinical...