Regeneration of pancreatic islets in vivo by ultrasound-targeted gene therapy

S. Chen, M. Shimoda, M. Y. Wang, J. Ding, H. Noguchi, S. Matsumoto, P. A. Grayburn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


This study uses a novel approach to gene therapy in which plasmid DNA is targeted to the pancreas in vivo using ultrasound-targeted microbubble destruction (UTMD) to achieve islet regeneration. Intravenous microbubbles carrying plasmids are destroyed within the pancreatic microcirculation by ultrasound, achieving local gene expression that is further targeted to Β-cells by a modified rat insulin promoter (RIP3.1). A series of genes implicated in endocrine development were delivered to rats 2 days after streptozotocin-induced diabetes. The genes, PAX4, Nkx2.2, Nkx6.1, Ngn3 and Mafa, produced α-cell hyperplasia, but no significant improvement in Β-cell mass or blood glucose level 30 days after UTMD. In contrast, RIP3.1-NeuroD1 promoted islet regeneration from surviving Β-cells, with normalization of glucose, insulin and C-peptide levels at 30 days. In a longer-term experiment, four of six rats had a return of diabetes at 90 days, accompanied by Β-cell apoptosis on Tunel staining. Pretreatment with the JNK inhibitor SP600125 successfully blocked Β-cell apoptosis and resulted in restoration of Β-cell mass and normalization of blood glucose level for up to 90 days. This technique allows in vivo islet regeneration, restoration of Β-cell mass and normalization of blood sugar, insulin and C-peptide in rats without viruses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1411-1420
Number of pages10
JournalGene Therapy
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2010


  • diabetes
  • islets transcriptional factors
  • microbubble
  • pancreatic islets
  • regeneration
  • ultrasound

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


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