Ectopic PDX-1 expression in liver ameliorates type 1 diabetes

Keren Shternhall-Ron, Francisco J. Quintana, Shira Perl, Irit Meivar-Levy, Iris Barshack, Irun R. Cohen, Sarah Ferber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM) results from a specific autoimmune mediated destruction of the pancreatic β-cells. PDX-1 induced developmentally redirected liver cells were suggested to restore the ablated pancreatic function in chemically induced diabetes. However, developmentally redirected liver cells, may have acquired along with the desired β-cell characteristics and functions, also undesired sensitivity to autoimmune attack and therefore may be inefficient in ameliorating T1DM. This study analyzes whether subjects with β-cell autoimmunity could benefit from Ad-CMV-PDX-1 gene therapy. Using the model of cyclophosphamide-accelerated diabetes in non-obese diabetic (CAD-NOD) mice, we report that recombinant adenovirus mediated PDX-1 gene therapy, ameliorates hyperglycemia in CAD-NOD mice. Our data demonstrate that 43% of the overtly diabetic CAD-NOD mice treated with Ad-CMV-PDX-1 became normoglycemic and maintained a stable body weight. Ectopic PDX-1 expression induced pancreatic gene expression and insulin production in the mice livers. The amelioration of hyperglycemia, in PDX-1 treated diabetic mice was associated with an immune modulation manifested by Th1 to Th2 shift in the autoimmune T-cell response to antigens associated with NOD diabetes. Thus, liver-to-pancreas transdifferentiation ameliorates T1DM in a process which is associated with a concomitant modulation of the autoimmune attack. Our findings suggest a beneficial therapeutic effect of the PDX-1 gene therapy for treating autoimmune type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)134-142
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Autoimmunity
Issue number2-3
StatePublished - Mar 2007


  • Autoimmune diabetes
  • Developmental redirection
  • Gene therapy
  • Immune modulation


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