Vrije Universiteit Brussel


Protection and Proliferation

Transplantation of donor beta cells can cure diabetes in man, but the scarcity of donor cells strongly limits the number of patients that can be transplanted.

Through isolation of proliferating beta cells from murine models of pancreas injury (see Generation and Regeneration projects) and by comparing the transcriptome and proteome of these cells with beta cells from normal pancreas, we aim to identify signals that activate proliferation and that suppress programmed cell death.

Immunofluorescent staining of a sectioned mouse islet of Langerhans. Beta cells are red. Profilerating cells have blue or green nuclei.

We will apply these exogenous stimuli or genes to mature beta cells and test whether this increases the absolute cell number and the total insulin secretory capacity also in vitro. Subsequent transplantation experiments in diabetic mice can tell us whether or not in vitro manipulation of mature beta cells is a workable strategy for generating new beta cells for transplantation.


© 2008 • BENE • Vrije Universiteit Brussel • Faculteit Geneeskunde & Farmacie • Laarbeeklaan 103 • 1090 Jette •
Tel.: 02/477.44.69 • Fax.: 02/477.44.72 • bene@vub.ac.be