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.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Internal Medicine
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism