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Characterisation of Ppy-lineage cells clarifies the functional heterogeneity of pancreatic beta cells in mice – published online 09/09/2021

Fukaishi graphical abstract

Takahiro Fukaishi, Yuko Nakagawa, Ayako Fukunaka, Takashi Sato, Akemi Hara, Keiko Nakao, Michiko Saito, Kenji Kohno, Takeshi Miyatsuka, Motoyuki Tamaki, Munehide Matsuhisa, Taka-aki Matsuoka, Tetsuya Yamada, Hirotaka Watada, Yoshio Fujitani

The islets of Langerhans, which are composed of four main types of endocrine cells (alpha, beta, delta and pancreatic polypeptide [PP] cells), play an important role in maintaining blood glucose levels. In this issue, Fukaishi et al ( report that insulin-producing beta cells in mice are composed of several subpopulations with different gene expression profiles. Among them, they found a novel subpopulation of beta cells with a gene expression profile similar to that of PP cells and named them ‘Ppy-lineage beta cells’. Ppy-lineage beta cells showed a reduced glucose-stimulated calcium response compared with non-Ppy-lineage beta cells and were resistant to cellular injury. Consequently, the percentage of Ppy-lineage beta cells remaining in mouse models of diabetes was significantly higher than the other types of beta cells. The authors conclude that this study provides new insights into the functional heterogeneity of beta cells, helping to elucidate mechanisms underlying the onset and progression of diabetes, and may lead to the development of new therapies for diabetes.

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