We previously showed that injury by partial duct ligation (PDL) in adult mouse pancreas activates Neurogenin 3 (Ngn3+)+ progenitor cells that can differentiate to β cells ex vivo. Here we evaluate the role of Ngn 3++ cells in β cell expansion in situ. PDL not only induced doubling of the β cell volume but also increased the total number of islets. β cells proliferated without extended delay (the so-called 'refractory' period), their proliferation potential was highest in small islets, and 86% of the β cell expansion was attributable to proliferation of pre-existing β cells. At sufficiently high Ngn3+ expression level, upto 14% of all β cells and 40% of small islet β cells derived from non-b cells. Moreover, β cell proliferation was blunted by a selective ablation of Ngn3++ cells but not by conditional knockout of Ngn 3+ in pre-existing β cells supporting a key role for Ngn 3++ insulin- cells in β cell proliferation and expansion. We conclude that Ngn3++ cell-dependent proliferation of pre-existing and newly-formed β cells as well as reprogramming of non-b cells contribute to in vivo β cell expansion in the injured pancreas of adult mice.
- Cell differentiation
- Tissue injury