nPOD. Beta Cell Development, Differentiation & Regeneration

Expression of Beta-Cell Dedifferentiation-Associated microRNAs in Type 2 Diabetes

MicroRNAs are small endogenous RNAs which regulate gene expression through mRNA decay or translational inhibition. It has been previously demonstrated that microRNAs are pivotal regulators of cell phenotype and fate and are involved in many biological processes such as proliferation, differentiation or apoptosis in a wide type of cells and organisms. Given their prominent role in cell phenotype specification, our hypothesis is that microRNAs may contribute to the new recently described mechanism of beta-cell dysfunction, known as dedifferentiation, in type 2 diabetes (T2D). Indeed, in an in-vitro model of human pancreatic islets dedifferentiation, we demonstrated that microRNAs may be involved in the acquisition of islet cells undifferentiated phenotype, thus possibly playing a role in the dedifferentiation of human pancreatic islets in T2D also. Therefore, here we aim at characterizing microRNA signatures of T2D pancreatic islets in order to reveal whether microRNAs involved in in-vitro dedifferentiation of human pancreatic islets are also likely to be involved in the dedifferentiation of those islets deriving from T2D donors. In order to do this, we will specifically capture islets from pancreatic frozen sections of non-diabetic and T2D donors using Laser Capture Microdissection (LCM), and analyze microRNA profiles using high throughput technologies. The major outcome of this study will be to potentially highlight several microRNAs which may be involved in the dedifferentiation process of human pancreatic islets in T2D, thus shedding light on new possible mechanisms of beta-cell dysfunction and consequently discover new potential therapeutic target.

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