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Keywords:

  • stem/progenitor cell;
  • islet;
  • proliferation;
  • transdifferentiation;
  • heart failure;
  • growth factor

Abstract

Pancreatic islet transplantation represents an attrative approach for the treatment of diabetes. However, the limited availability of donor islets has largely hampered this approach. In this respect, the use of alternative sources of islets such as the ex vivo expansion and differentiation of functional endocrine cells for treating diabetes has become the major focus of diabetes research. Adult pancreatic stem cells/progenitor cells have yet to be recognized because limited markers exist for their identification. While the pancreas has the capacity to regenerate under certain circumstance, questions where adult pancreatic stem/progenitor cells are localized, how they are regulated, and even if the pancreas harbors a stem cell population need to be resolved. In this article, we review the recent achievements both in the identification as well as in the expansion of pancreatic stem/progenitor cells.