Islet transplantation is an effective therapy for severe diabetes. Nevertheless,
the short supply of donor pancreases constitutes a formidable obstacle to its extensive
clinical application. This shortage heightens the need for alternative sources of
insulin-producing beta cells. Since mature beta cells have a very slow proliferation
rate, which further declines with age, great efforts have been made to identify beta cell
progenitors in the adult pancreas. However, the question whether facultative beta cell
progenitors indeed exist in the adult pancreas remains largely unresolved. In the current
review, we discuss the problems in past studies and review the milestone studies
and recent publications.
Keywords: Beta cell mass, beta cell neogenesis, beta cell regeneration, Ngn3.
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