The gallbladder and cystic duct (GBCs) are parts of the extrahepatic biliary tree and share a common developmental origin with the ventral pancreas. Here, we report on the very first genetic reprogramming of patient-derived human GBCs to β-like cells for potential autologous cell replacement therapy for type 1 diabetes. We developed a robust method for large-scale expansion of human GBCs ex vivo. GBCs were reprogrammed into insulin-producing pancreatic β-like cells by a combined adenoviral-mediated expression of hallmark pancreatic endocrine transcription factors PDX1, MAFA, NEUROG3, and PAX6 and differentiation culture in vitro. The reprogrammed GBCs (rGBCs) strongly induced the production of insulin and pancreatic endocrine genes and these responded to glucose stimulation in vitro. rGBCs also expressed an islet-specific surface marker, which was used to enrich for the most highly reprogrammed cells. More importantly, global mRNA and microRNA expression profiles and protein immunostaining indicated that rGBCs adopted an overall β-like state and these rGBCs engrafted in immunodeficient mice. Furthermore, comparative global expression analyses identified putative regulators of human biliary to β cell fate conversion. In summary, we have developed, for the first time, a reliable and robust genetic reprogramming and culture expansion of primary human GBCs-derived from multiple unrelated donors-into pancreatic β-like cells ex vivo, thus showing that human gallbladder is a potentially rich source of reprogrammable cells for autologous cell therapy in diabetes.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)