Biochemical and biophysical research communications

miRNA-302 facilitates reprogramming of human adult hepatocytes into pancreatic islets-like cells in combination with a chemical defined media.

PMID 25268319


The direct conversion of one cell type to another without an intermediate pluripotent stage is required for regenerative therapies. The ventral pancreas and liver share a common developmental origin. Recent studies have shown that hepatocytes could be induced to transdifferentiate into insulin-producing cells. In this paper, we showed a new strategy to achieve the direct conversion of human hepatocytes into surrogate β cells. Hepatocytes were transfected with microRNA-302 (miR-302) mimic and Pdx1, Ngn3 and MafA expressed plasmids, followed by a chemical-defined culture system for maturation of insulin-secreting cells. Co-transfection of miR-302 mimic increased the transcription of pancreatic development-related genes (Sox17, Foxa2, and endogenous Pdx1). Furthermore, at the end of this treatment, hepatocytes became insulin expressed cells that released the hormone in response to a physiological glucose change in vitro. This work shows that miR-302 participation may facilitates the conversion of adult hepatocytes into pancreatic islets-like cells.