Signals From the Embryonic Mouse Pancreas Induce Differentiation of Human Embryonic Stem Cells Into Insulin-Producing {beta}-Cell-Like Cells.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The recent success in restoring normoglycemia in type 1 diabetes by islet cell transplantation indicates that cell replacement therapy of this severe disease is achievable. However, the severe lack of donor islets has increased the demand for alternative sources of beta-cells, such as adult and embryonic stem cells. Here, we investigate the potential of human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) to differentiate into beta-cells. Spontaneous differentiation of hESCs under two-dimensional growth conditions resulted in differentiation of Pdx1(+)/Foxa2(+) pancreatic progenitors and Pdx1(+)/Isl1(+) endocrine progenitors but no insulin-producing cells. However, cotransplantation of differentiated hESCs with the dorsal pancreas, but not with the liver or telencephalon, from mouse embryos resulted in differentiation of beta-cell-like cell clusters. Comparative analysis of the basic characteristics of hESC-derived insulin(+) cell clusters with human adult islets demonstrated that the insulin(+) cells share important features with normal beta-cells, such as synthesis (proinsulin) and processing (C-peptide) of insulin and nuclear localization of key beta-cell transcription factors, including Foxa2, Pdx1, and Isl1.


  • Gabriella Brolén
  • Nico Heins
  • Josefina Edsbagge
  • Henrik Semb
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Endocrinology and Diabetes
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2867-2874
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2005
Publication categoryResearch

Bibliographic note

The information about affiliations in this record was updated in December 2015. The record was previously connected to the following departments: Department of Experimental Medical Science (013210000), Faculty of Medicine (000022000), Stem Cell and Pancreas Developmental Biology (013212044)