Special Scientific Talk - "Induction of pancreatic beta-cell neogenesis" by Dr. Patrick Collombat
The recent discovery that genetically-modified pancreatic alpha-cells can regenerate and convert into beta-like cells in vivo holds great promise for diabetes research. However, to eventually translate these findings to human, it is crucial to discover compounds with similar activities. In this presentation, we report the identification of GABA as an inducer of alpha-to-beta-like cell conversion in vivo. This conversion induces alpha-cell replacement mechanisms through the mobilization of duct-lining precursor cells that adopt an alpha-cell identity prior to being converted into beta-like cells, solely upon sustained GABA exposure. Importantly, these neo-generated beta-like cells are functional and can repeatedly reverse chemically-induced diabetes in vivo. Similarly, the treatment of transplanted human islets with GABA results in a loss of alpha-cells and a concomitant increase in beta-like cell counts, suggestive of alpha-to-beta-like cell conversion processes also in humans. This newly discovered GABA-induced alpha-cell-mediated beta-like cell neogenesis could therefore represent an unprecedented hope towards improved therapies for diabetes
Patrick Collombat studied in Toulouse (France) and subsequently moved to the Max-Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Goettingen (Germany) to work under the supervision of Prof. Peter Gruss. There, he obtained his PhD degree in 2003. Following a postodoctorate in the same group, he was recruited in Nice in 2009 at INSERM (France). Since then, he is a group leader working on pancreatic beta-cell regeneration.
Patrick Collombat is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation carrer development award, an ERC grant, the Schlumberger award, the Bouchardat award, the Morigagni award, the Loubatiere award, the Fondation Générale de Santé gold medal, etc. Recently, he was appointed by the President of the French Republic as knight in the French National Order of Merit.