Pdx1 has been shown to convert hepatocytes into both exocrine and endocrine pancreatic cells in mice, but it fails to selectively convert hepatocytes into pure insulin-producing cells (IPCs). The molecular mechanisms underlying the transdifferentiation remain unclear. In this study, we generated a stably transfected rat hepatic cell line named WB-1 that expresses an active form of Pdx1 along with a reporter gene, RIP-eGFP. Our results demonstrate that Pdx1 induces the expression of multiple genes related to endocrine pancreas development and islet function in these liver cells. We do not however find any expression of the late-stage genes (Pax4, Pax6, Isl-1, and MafA) related to beta-cell development, and the cells do not secrete insulin upon the glucose challenge. Yet when WB-1 cells are transplanted into diabetic NOD-scid mice, these genes become activated and hyperglycemia is completely reversed. Detailed comparison of gene expression profiles between pre- and posttransplanted WB-1 cells demonstrates that the WB-1 cells have similar properties as that seen in pancreatic beta-cells. In addition, in vitro culture in high-glucose medium is sufficient to induce complete maturation of WB-1 cells into functional IPCs. In summary, we find that Pdx1-VP16 is able to selectively convert hepatic cells into pancreatic endocrine precursor cells. However, complete transdifferentiation into functional IPCs requires additional external factors, including high glucose or hyperglycemia. Thus, transdifferentiation of hepatocytes into functional IPCs may serve as a viable therapeutic option for patients with type 1 diabetes.
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"Upon transplantation, these pancreasderived oval cells can differentiate into functional hepatocytes and bile ducts . The reciprocal conversion of rodent8910111213 and human1415161718 liver cells into pancreatic endocrine cells by transdifferentiation or direct cellular reprogramming has also been described. Liver cells have been induced to differentiate into insulin-producing cells by ectopic expression of pancreatic transcription factors, the best studied of which is PDX-1, a key regulator of pancreatic development and insulin expression in adult pancreatic beta cells [8, 10, 14,16171819. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: Activation of the pancreatic lineage in the liver has been suggested as a potential autologous cell replacement therapy for diabetic patients. Transcription factors-induced liver-to-pancreas reprogramming has been demonstrated in numerous species both in vivo and in vitro. However, human-derived liver cells capable of acquiring the alternate pancreatic repertoire have never been characterized. It is yet unknown whether hepatic-like stem cells or rather adult liver cells give rise to insulin-producing cells. Using an in vitro experimental system, we demonstrate that proliferating adherent human liver cells acquire mesenchymal-like characteristics and a considerable level of cellular plasticity. However, using a lineage-tracing approach, we demonstrate that insulin-producing cells are primarily generated in cells enriched for adult hepatic markers that coexpress both albumin and mesenchymal markers. Taken together, our data suggest that adult human hepatic tissue retains a substantial level of developmental plasticity, which could be exploited in regenerative medicine approaches.
Full-text · Article · Aug 2011 · Journal of Transplantation
"Based on our zebrafish and mouse data we hypothesize that one conserved function for pre-pancreatic insulin expression may be to suppress glucose production, as it can be teratogenic to embryos ( Akazawa, 2005; 23] Eriksson et al., 1991; 24] Freinkel, 1988; 44] Moley, 1999). Significantly, human, rodent, and apparently zebrafish preferentially utilize non-glucose substrates at early stages ( Biggers et al., 1967), further supporting this idea. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: Zebrafish embryos are emerging as models of glucose metabolism. However, patterns of endogenous glucose levels, and the role of the islet in glucoregulation, are unknown. We measured absolute glucose levels in zebrafish and mouse embryos, and demonstrate similar, dynamic glucose fluctuations in both species. Further, we show that chemical and genetic perturbations elicit mammalian-like glycemic responses in zebrafish embryos. We show that glucose is undetectable in early zebrafish and mouse embryos, but increases in parallel with pancreatic islet formation in both species. In zebrafish, increasing glucose is associated with activation of gluconeogenic phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase1 (pck1) transcription. Non-hepatic Pck1 protein is expressed in mouse embryos. We show using RNA in situ hybridization, that zebrafish pck1 mRNA is similarly expressed in multiple cell types prior to hepatogenesis. Further, we demonstrate that the Pck1 inhibitor 3-mercaptopicolinic acid suppresses normal glucose accumulation in early zebrafish embryos. This shows that pre- and extra-hepatic pck1 is functional, and provides glucose locally to rapidly developing tissues. To determine if the primary islet is glucoregulatory in early fish embryos, we injected pdx1-specific morpholinos into transgenic embryos expressing GFP in beta cells. Most morphant islets were hypomorphic, not a genetic, but embryos still exhibited persistent hyperglycemia. We conclude from these data that the early zebrafish islet is functional, and regulates endogenous glucose. In summary, we identify mechanisms of glucoregulation in zebrafish embryos that are conserved with embryonic and adult mammals. These observations justify use of this model in mechanistic studies of human metabolic disease.
Full-text · Article · Oct 2010 · General and Comparative Endocrinology
"Once again, IPF-1/ PDX-1 has proved to be a useful tool, with multiple groups successfully transdifferentiating rodent hepatic cells into insulin-producing cells via multiple genetic approaches66676869707172737475 . Most groups used adenovirusmediated gene transfer techniques to introduce transcription factors (especially PDX-1) into hepatic cells in vivo [66,68,72,73,75,76], whereas others found that in vitro high glucose concentrations and/or transplantation into a diabetic mouse were necessary to stimulate hepatic cell changes [67,71]. Regardless of the method used, amelioration of hyperglycaemia was achieved in these mouse models, giving hope to researchers searching for extra-pancreatic sources of insulin. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: With the already heightened demand placed on organ donation, stem cell therapy has become a tantalizing idea to provide glucose-responsive insulin-producing cells to Type 1 diabetic patients as an alternative to islet transplantation. Multiple groups have developed varied approaches to create a population of cells with the appropriate characteristics. Both adult and embryonic stem cells have received an enormous amount of attention as possible sources of insulin-producing cells. Although adult stem cells lack the pluripotent nature of their embryonic counterparts, they appear to avoid the ethical debate that has centred around the latter. This may limit the eventual application of embryonic stem cells, which have already shown promise in early mouse models. One must also consider the potential of stem cells to form teratomas, a complication which would prove devastating in an immunologically compromised transplant recipient. The present review looks at the progress to date in both the adult and embryonic stem cells fields as potential treatments for diabetes. We also consider some of the limitations of stem cell therapy and the potential complications that may develop with their use.