Author(s): Meier JJ, Butler AE, Saisho Y, Monchamp T, Galasso R,
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Abstract OBJECTIVE: Little is known about the capacity, mechanisms, or timing of growth in beta-cell mass in humans. We sought to establish if the predominant expansion of beta-cell mass in humans occurs in early childhood and if, as in rodents, this coincides with relatively abundant beta-cell replication. We also sought to establish if there is a secondary growth in beta-cell mass coincident with the accelerated somatic growth in adolescence. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS: To address these questions, pancreas volume was determined from abdominal computer tomographies in 135 children aged 4 weeks to 20 years, and morphometric analyses were performed in human pancreatic tissue obtained at autopsy from 46 children aged 2 weeks to 21 years. RESULTS: We report that 1) beta-cell mass expands by severalfold from birth to adulthood, 2) islets grow in size rather than in number during this transition, 3) the relative rate of beta-cell growth is highest in infancy and gradually declines thereafter to adulthood with no secondary accelerated growth phase during adolescence, 4) beta-cell mass (and presumably growth) is highly variable between individuals, and 5) a high rate of beta-cell replication is coincident with the major postnatal expansion of beta-cell mass. CONCLUSIONS: These data imply that regulation of beta-cell replication during infancy plays a major role in beta-cell mass in adult humans.
This article was published in Diabetes
and referenced in Journal of Diabetes & Metabolism