Joslin scientists report the first generation of human induced pluripotent stem cells from patients with an uncommon form of diabetes, maturity onset diabetes of the young (MODY). These cells offer a powerful resource for studying the role of genetic factors in the development of MODY and testing potential treatments. The findings appear in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.
Human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) are adult cells that have been genetically reprogrammed to exhibit the characteristics of embryonic stem cells, including the ability to differentiate into specialized cell types. The generation of hiPSCs, which was first reported in 2006, was a major scientific breakthrough with the potential to increase understanding of many diseases and aid in drug development.
Maturity onset diabetes of the young (MODY) is a form of diabetes that mainly affects individuals age 25 or younger and accounts for about 1 to 5 percent of all diabetes cases in the United States. Unlike type 1 and type 2 diabetes, which are polygenic and result from alterations in genetic and environmental factors, MODY is a monogenic disease that results from mutations in a single gene. To date, eight types of MODY and eleven MODY genes have been identified. Some types of MODY produce only mild symptoms and are often treated solely with oral diabetic medications.
Joslin Diabetes Center is one of a limited number of research institutes with the capability to generate hiPSCs from patients with diabetes. The cells used to produce the hiPSCs were obtained from patients with five different types of MODY at Joslin Diabetes Center and Haukeland University Hospital, Bergen, Norway. The MODY-hiPSCs are morphologically, molecularly and functionally indistinguishable from human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs).