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Wenrui Wang and Chuan Zhang

The most distinctive pathological characteristics of diabetes mellitus induced by various stressors or immune-mediated injuries are reductions of pancreatic islet β-cell populations and activity. Existing treatment strategies cannot slow disease progression; consequently, research to genetically engineer β-cell mimetics through bi-directional plasticity is ongoing. The current consensus implicates β-cell dedifferentiation as the primary etiology of reduced β-cell mass and activity. This review aims to summarize the etiology and proposed mechanisms of β-cell dedifferentiation and to explore the possibility that there might be a time interval from the onset of β-cell dysfunction caused by dedifferentiation to the development of diabetes, which may offer a therapeutic window to reduce β-cell injury and to stabilize functionality. In addition, to investigate β-cell plasticity, we review strategies for β-cell regeneration utilizing genetic programming, small molecules, cytokines, and bioengineering to transdifferentiate other cell types into β-cells; the development of biomimetic acellular constructs to generate fully functional β-cell-mimetics. However, the maturation of regenerated β-cells is currently limited. Further studies are needed to develop simple and efficient reprogramming methods for assembling perfectly functional β-cells. Future investigations are necessary to transform diabetes into a potentially curable disease.

Open access

Xun Gong, Lili You, Feng Li, Qingyu Chen, Chaogang Chen, Xiaoyun Zhang, Xiuwei Zhang, Wenting Xuan, Kan Sun, Guojuan Lao, Chuan Wang, Yan Li, Mingtong Xu, Meng Ren, and Li Yan


Adiponectin is an adipocyte-derived hormone with an important role in glucose metabolism. The present study explored the effect of adiponectin in diverse population groups on pre-diabetes and newly diagnosed diabetes.


A total of 3300 individuals were enrolled and their data were collected in the analyses dataset from December 2018 to October 2019. Cluster analysis was conducted based on age, BMI, waistline, body fat, systolic blood pressure, triglycerides, and glycosylated hemoglobin 1c. Cluster analysis divided the participants into four groups: a young-healthy group, an elderly-hypertension group, a high glucose–lipid group, and an obese group. Odds ratio (OR) and 95% CIs were calculated using multivariate logistic regression analysis.


Compared with the first quartile of adiponectin, the risk of pre-diabetes of fourth quartile was decreased 61% (aOR = 0.39, 95% CI (0.20–0.73)) in the young-healthy group; and the risk of diabetes of fourth quartile was decreased 85% (aOR = 0.15, 95% CI (0.02–0.67)) in the obese group. There were no significant correlations between the adiponectin level and diabetes/pre-diabetes in the other two groups. Additionally, receiver operating characteristic curve analysis indicated that adiponectin could significantly improve the diagnosis based on models in the young-healthy group (from 0.640 to 0.675) and the obese group (from 0.714 to 0.761).


Increased adiponectin levels were associated with decreased risk of pre-diabetes in the young-healthy population, and with a decreased the risk of diabetes in the obese population. An increased adiponectin level is an independent protective factor for pre-diabetes and diabetes in a specific population in south China.