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NYSCF and Columbia researchers demonstrate use of stem cells to analyze causes, treatment of diabetes
Date:6/17/2013

lar complications.

MODY patients are frequently misdiagnosed with type 1 or 2 diabetes. Proper diagnosis can not only change the patient's course of treatment but affect family members, who were previously unaware that they, too, might have this genetic disorder.

NYSCF scientists took skin cells from two Berrie Center type 2 MODY patients and "reprogrammed"or revertedthem to an embryonic-like state to become iPS cells. To examine the effect of the GCK genetic mutation, they also created two genetically manipulated iPS cell lines for comparison: one fully functional (two correct copies of the GCK gene) and one with complete loss of function (two faulty copies of the GCK gene). They then generated beta cell precursors from the fully functional and loss-of-function iPS cell lines and transplanted the cells for further maturation into immune-compromised mice.

"Our ability to create insulin-producing cells from skin cells, and then to manipulate the GCK gene in these cells using recently developed molecular methods, made it possible to definitively test several critical aspects of the utility of stem cells for the study of human disease," said Haiqing Hua, PhD, lead author on the paper, a postdoctoral fellow in the Division of Molecular Genetics, Department of Pediatrics and Naomi Berrie Diabetes Center at Columbia University and the New York Stem Cell Foundation Research Institute.

When given a glucose tolerance test three months later, mice with MODY beta cells had decreased sensitivity to glucose but a normal response to other molecules that stimulate insulin secretion. This is the hallmark of MODY. Mice with two faulty copies of the GCK gene secreted no additional insulin in response to glucose. When the researchers repaired the GCK mutation using molecular techniques, cells with two restored copies of GCK responded normally to the glucose stress test. Unlike other reported techniques, the researchers' approach efficiently repaire
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Contact: David McKeon
dmckeon@nyscf.org
212-365-7440
New York Stem Cell Foundation
Source:Eurekalert

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