MiR-375 promotes redifferentiation of adult human β cells expanded in vitro

Gili Nathan, Sharon Kredo-Russo, Tamar Geiger, Ayelet Lenz, Haggai Kaspi, Eran Hornstein, Shimon Efrat

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In-vitro expansion of β cells fromadult human pancreatic islets could provide abundant cells for cell replacement therapy of diabetes. However, proliferation of β-cell-derived (BCD) cells is associated with dedifferentiation. Here we analyzed changes inmicroRNAs (miRNAs) during BCD cell dedifferentiation and identified miR-375 as one of them iRNAs greatly downregulated. We hypothesized that restoration ofmiR-375 expression in expanded BCD cells may contribute to their redifferentiation. Our findings demonstrate that overexpression of miR-375 alone leads to activation of β-cell gene expression, reduced cell proliferation, and a switch from N-cadherin to E-cadherin expression, which characterizes mesenchymal-epithelial transition. These effects, which are reproducible in cells derived from multiple human donors, are likely mediated by repression of PDPK1 transcripts and indirect downregulation of GSK3 activity. These findings support an important role of miR-375 in regulation of human β-cell phenotype, and suggest thatmiR-375 upregulation may facilitate the generation of functional insulin-producing cells following ex-vivo expansion of human islet cells.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0122108
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number4
StatePublished - 13 Apr 2015


FundersFunder number
Israel Science Foundation
Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation United States of America31-2008-413


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