2014 Volume 21 Issue 2 Pages 228-236
Pancreatic islet transplantation is performed as a curative treatment of type 1 diabetes mellitus, however, this approach is significantly limited due to the critical shortage of islet source. Recently, a number of publications have developed protocols for directed β-cell differentiation of pluripotent cells such as embryonic stem(ES), or induced pluripotent stem(iPS) cells. By recapitulating the molecular developmental cues, decades of studies reported the modified protocols with improved efficiency by combining various growth factors and small molecules. In many cases, the differentiated pancreaticβ-cells have been shown to rescue experimentally induced diabetes animal models in vivo, however, the final step of directed differentiation into functional, mature pancreatic β-cells with sufficient quantities has yet to be achieved in vitro. Here, we summarize recent progress in the directed differentiation into the pancreaticβ-cells with a focus on two-dimensional (2D) and three-dimensional (3D) differentiation settings. We also discuss the limitations of current methods with the use of stem cells for diabetes therapy, and predict the future directions of pancreaticβ-cells differentiation.