Although islet transplantation is an effective treatment for severe diabetes, its broad application is greatly limited due to a shortage of donor islets. Suppression of TGFβ receptor signaling in β-cells has been shown to increase β-cell proliferation in mice, but has not been rigorously examined in humans. Here, treatment of human islets with a TGFβ receptor I inhibitor, SB-431542 (SB), significantly improved C-peptide secretion by β-cells, and significantly increased β-cell number by increasing β-cell proliferation. In addition, SB increased cell-cycle activators and decreased cell-cycle suppressors in human β-cells. Transplantation of SB-treated human islets into diabetic immunedeficient mice resulted in significant improvement in blood glucose control, significantly higher serum and graft insulin content, and significantly greater increases in β-cell proliferation in the graft, compared with controls. Thus, our data suggest that transient suppression of TGFβ receptor signaling may improve the outcome of human islet transplantation, seemingly through increasing β-cell number and function.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by the National Institutes of Health Grant R01 DK098196 (to G.K.G.) and the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh.