Protecting Pancreatic β-cells

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Type 1 diabetes mellitus is an autoimmune disorder in which the insulin-producing β-cells of the pancreatic islets of Langerhans are selectively destroyed. Transplantation of allogeneic islets offers a novel therapeutic approach for type 1 diabetic patients. Primary obstacles to the successful outcome of this treatment are loss of the islets occurring first during the isolation procedure and then immediately following transplantation. The genetic make up of β-cells contributes to making them particularly vulnerable to apoptosis and necrosis-induced cell death caused by the trauma of the isolation procedure and by non-specific inflammatory events at the transplantation site. In this review we present description of chemical and molecular biology based strategies to confer cytoprotection to β-cells.

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