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Title: Signaling Molecules Regulating Pancreatic Endocrine Development from Pluripotent Stem Cell Differentiation
Diabetes is one of the leading causes of death globally. Currently, the donor pancreas is the only source of human islets, placing extreme constraints on supply. Hence, it is imperative to develop renewable islets for diabetes research and treatment. To date, extensive efforts have been made to derive insulin-secreting cells from human pluripotent stem cells with substantial success. However, the in vitro generation of functional islet organoids remains a challenge due in part to our poor understanding of the signaling molecules indispensable for controlling differentiation pathways towards the self-assembly of functional islets from stem cells. Since this process relies on a variety of signaling molecules to guide the differentiation pathways, as well as the culture microenvironments that mimic in vivo physiological conditions, this review highlights extracellular matrix proteins, growth factors, signaling molecules, and microenvironments facilitating the generation of biologically functional pancreatic endocrine cells from human pluripotent stem cells. Signaling pathways involved in stepwise differentiation that guide the progression of stem cells into the endocrine lineage are also discussed. The development of protocols enabling the generation of islet organoids with hormone release capacities equivalent to native adult islets for clinical applications, disease modeling, and diabetes research are anticipated.  more » « less
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International Journal of Molecular Sciences
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Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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