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Human stem cells used to elucidate mechanisms of beta-cell failure in diabetes
Date:11/13/2013

NEW YORK, NY (November 13, 2013) Scientists from the New York Stem Cell Foundation (NYSCF) Research Institute and Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) have used stem cells created from the skin of patients with a rare form of diabetesWolfram syndrometo elucidate an important biochemical pathway for beta-cell failure in diabetes. The findings by Linshan Shang and colleagues were published today in Diabetes.

Scientists from NYSCF produced induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells from skin samples from individuals with a rare form of diabetes, Wolfram syndrome. They then derived insulin-producing cells (beta cells) from these iPS cells, creating a human diabetes model in vitro. Next, they showed that the beta cells failed to normally secrete insulin because of protein-foldingor endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress. They found that a chemical, 4-phenyl butyric acid, that relieves this stress, prevents the cells from failing, suggesting a potential target for clinical intervention.

"These cells represent an important mechanism that causes beta-cell failure in diabetes. This human iPS cell model represents a significant step forward in enabling the study of this debilitating disease and the development of new treatments," said Dieter Egli, PhD, principal investigator of the study, and Senior Research Fellow at NYSCF and NYSCFRobertson Stem Cell Investigator.

Wolfram syndrome is a rare, often fatal genetic disorder characterized by the development of insulin-dependent diabetes, vision loss, and deafness. Since all forms of diabetes are ultimately the result of an inability of pancreatic beta cells to provide sufficient insulin in response to blood sugar concentrations, this Wolfram patient stem cell model enables analysis of a specific pathway leading to beta-cell failure in more prevalent forms of diabetes. It also enables the testing of strategies to restore beta-cell function that may be applicable to all types of diabetes.


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Contact: David McKeon
dmckeon@nyscf.org
212-365-7440
New York Stem Cell Foundation
Source:Eurekalert

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