Diabetes mellitus (DM) is considered to be an autoimmune disorder leading to destruction of beta-cells resulting
in to a loss of blood sugar control. Attempts using many pharmacological compositions including exogenous insulin
have failed to show tight control of glycemia and associated manifestations. Stem cells are considered a potential tool for
the supply of insulin-producing cells (IPC) generation in vitro. Stem cell differentiation in to pancreatic lineages requires
influence of both intrinsic and extrinsic factors. Application of islet growth factors is considered to be potential for enhancement
of beta-cell replication, function and survival. Use of certain extrinsic factors is known to facilitate expression
of transcription factors known to be important for beta-cell differentiation and production of insulin enabling IPC generation.
Hierarchies of secreted signals and transcription factors have been identified by studies from several laboratories that
guide cell differentiation in to IPC. This knowledge provides insights for in vitro IPC differentiation from stem cells. Current
advancement in medical knowledge promises an insulin independency for DM patients. The review sheds light on
few specific extrinsic factors which facilitate differentiation of stem cells in to IPC in vitro have been discussed; which
can be proven as a potential therapeutic option for treatment of DM and associated diseases.
Keywords: Beta-cells, differentiation, extrinsic factors, insulin, insulin producing cells, stem cells.
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