Sex Differences in Maturation of Human Embryonic Stem Cell-Derived β Cells in Mice


Pancreatic progenitors derived from human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) are now in clinical trials for insulin replacement in patients with type 1 diabetes. Animal studies indicate that pancreatic progenitor cells can mature into a mixed population of endocrine cells, including glucose-responsive β cells several months after implantion. However, it remains unclear how conditions in the recipient may influence the maturation and ultimately the function of these hESC-derived cells. Here, we investigated the effects of (1) pregnancy on the maturation of human stage 4 (S4) pancreatic progenitor cells and (2) the impact of host sex on both S4 cells and more mature stage 7 (S7) pancreatic endocrine cells implanted under the kidney capsule of immunodeficient SCID-beige mice. Pregnancy led to increased proliferation of endogenous pancreatic β cells, but did not appear to affect proliferation or maturation of S4 cells at midgestation. Interestingly, S4 and S7 cells both acquired glucose-stimulated C-peptide secretion in females before males. Moreover, S4 cells lowered fasting blood glucose levels in females sooner than in males, whereas the responses with S7 cells were similar. These data indicate that the host sex may impact the maturation of hESC-derived cells in vivo and that this effect can be minimized by more advanced differentiation of the cells before implantation.

Authors Saber N, Bruin JE, O'Dwyer S, Schuster H, Rezania A, Kieffer TJ
Journal Endocrinology
Publication Date 2018 Apr 1;159(4):1827-1841
PubMed 29420708
DOI 10.1210/en.2018-00048

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