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Diabetes results from an inadequate functional β cell mass, either due to autoimmune destruction (Type 1 diabetes) or insulin resistance combined with β cell failure (Type 2 diabetes). Strategies to enhance β cell regeneration or increase cell proliferation could improve outcomes for patients with diabetes. Research conducted over the past several years has revealed that factors regulating embryonic β cell mass expansion differ from those regulating replication of β cells post-weaning. This article aims to compare and contrast factors known to control embryonic and postnatal β cell replication. In addition, we explore the possibility that connective tissue growth factor (CTGF) could increase adult β cell replication. We have already shown that CTGF is required for embryonic β cell proliferation and is sufficient to induce replication of embryonic β cells. Here we examine whether adult β cell replication and expansion of β cell mass can be enhanced by increased CTGF expression in mature β cells.
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