Islet Biology During COVID-19: Progress and Perspectives


The coronavirus-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has had significant impact on research directions and productivity in the past 2 years. Despite these challenges, since 2020, more than 2,500 peer-reviewed articles have been published on pancreatic islet biology. These include updates on the roles of isocitrate dehydrogenase, pyruvate kinase and incretin hormones in insulin secretion, as well as the discovery of inceptor and signalling by circulating RNAs. The year 2020 also brought advancements in in vivo and in vitro models, including a new transgenic mouse for assessing beta-cell proliferation, a "pancreas-on-a-chip" to study glucose-stimulated insulin secretion and successful genetic editing of primary human islet cells. Islet biologists evaluated the functionality of stem-cell-derived islet-like cells coated with semipermeable biomaterials to prevent autoimmune attack, revealing the importance of cell maturation after transplantation. Prompted by observations that COVID-19 symptoms can worsen for people with obesity or diabetes, researchers examined how islets are directly affected by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2. Herein, we highlight novel functional insights, technologies and therapeutic approaches that emerged between March 2020 and July 2021, written for both scientific and lay audiences. We also include a response to these advancements from patient stakeholders, to help lend a broader perspective to developments and challenges in islet research. Copyright © 2021 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Authors Dos Santos T, Galipeau M, Schukarucha Gomes A, Greenberg M, Larsen M, Lee D, Maghera J, Mulchandani CM, Patton M, Perera I, Polishevska K, Ramdass S, Shayeganpour K, Vafaeian K, Van Allen K, Wang Y, Weisz T, Estall JL, Mulvihill EE, Screaton RA, Diabetes Action Canada and the Canadian Islet Research and Training Network.
Journal Canadian journal of diabetes
Publication Date 2022 Jun;46(4):419-427
PubMed 35589534
PubMed Central PMC8608413
DOI 10.1016/j.jcjd.2021.11.002

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