Innovita Research Foundation

I.R.F. / Aging news / Diseases / 12022401

Life Span of Beta-cells
Posted on: February 24, 2012

Although many signaling pathways have been shown to promote beta-cell growth, surprisingly little is known about the normal life cycle of preexisting beta-cells or the signaling pathways required for beta-cell survival. Adult beta-cells have been speculated to have a finite life span, with ongoing adult beta-cell replication throughout life to replace lost cells. However, little solid evidence supports this idea.

To more accurately measure adult beta-cell turnover, scientists performed continuous long-term labeling of proliferating cells with the DNA precursor analog 5-bromo-2-deoxyuridine (BrdU) in 1-year-old mice. They show that beta-cells of aged adult mice have extremely low rates of replication, with minimal evidence of turnover. Although some pancreatic components acquired BrdU label in a linear fashion, only 1 in approximately 1,400 adult beta-cells were found to undergo replication per day.

Scientists conclude that adult beta-cells are very long lived.

Source: Teta M, Long SY, Wartschow LM, Rankin MM, Kushner JA.; Very slow turnover of beta-cells in aged adult mice.; Diabetes. 2005 Sep;54(9):2557-67.
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