MicroRNAs: An adaptive mechanism in the pancreatic β-cell…and beyond?

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Recent protocols have been developed to differentiate human stem cells and fibroblasts into insulin-producing cells capable of releasing the hormone in a glucose-stimulated manner. Limitations remain which prevent bringing these protocols to a clinical setting as these models must still undergo complete characterization. Advances in sequencing technologies have driven the identification of several non-coding RNA species including microRNAs (miRNAs). While their diversity and unique expression patterns across different tissues have made deciphering their precise functional role a significant challenge, studies using both cell lines and transgenic mouse models have made substantial progress in understanding their regulatory role on exocytosis and proliferation of the β-cell. These results also indicate miRNAs play an integral role in the fundamental mechanics of how the cell manages the balance between these independent functions. Continued investigation into miRNA function may uncover mechanisms which can be exploited to improve differentiation protocols in producing fully mature β-cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)621-628
Number of pages8
JournalBest Practice and Research: Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • beta cell proliferation
  • diabetes
  • insulin secretion
  • metabolic stress
  • non-coding RNA
  • pancreatic islet

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology


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