Virgin b-cells at the neogenic niche proliferate normally and mature slowly

Sharon Lee, Jing Zhang, Supraja Saravanakumar, Marcus F. Flisher, David R. Grimm, Talitha van der Meulen, Mark O. Huising

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Proliferation of pancreatic b-cells has long been known to reach its peak in the neonatal stages and decline during adulthood. However, b-cell proliferation has been studied under the assumption that all b-cells constitute a single, homogenous population. It is unknown whether a subpopulation of b-cells retains the capacity to proliferate at a higher rate and thus contributes disproportionately to the maintenance of mature b-cell mass in adults. We therefore assessed the proliferative capacity and turnover potential of virgin b-cells, a novel population of immature b-cells found at the islet periphery. We demonstrate that virgin b-cells can proliferate but do so at rates similar to those of mature b-cells from the same islet under normal and challenged conditions. Virgin b-cell proliferation rates also conform to the agedependent decline previously reported for b-cells at large. We further show that virgin b-cells represent a long-lived, stable subpopulation of b-cells with low turnover into mature b-cells under healthy conditions. Our observations indicate that virgin b-cells at the islet periphery can divide but do not contribute disproportionately to the maintenance of adult b-cell mass.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1070-1083
Number of pages14
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


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