Cell Bioprinting: a Novel Approach for Alpha Cell to Beta Cell Transdifferentiation

Atzimba Casas Escudero, University of Texas at El Paso


Diabetes is a chronic disease that occurs in the body when the pancreas fails to eitherproduce insulin (TID) or does not effectively use the insulin produced (TIID) and poses furtherhealth complications as well as an insurmountable economic impact.[1] Type I diabetes is anautoimmune disease characterized by a deficient amount of insulin production on account of thebody’s immune system destroying its own β-cells.[2] Current diabetes treatment methods includethe administration of insulin via injections or islet transplantation therapy. However, althoughboth are viable options, they come with limitations that make the managing of this diseasedifficult. It is thus evident that there is a major need for the development of a treatment therapythat is quicker and does not pose much adverse effects on the patient. The purpose of thisresearch project was to see if alpha cells can be transdifferentiated into beta cells whenundergoing mechanical stress (bioprinting) as opposed to transdifferentiating alpha cells intobeta cells without any added stress (non-printed). In this study, we demonstrated that bioprintedcells produced insulin when exposed to glucose after having undergone the transdifferentiationprotocol as compared to cells that had not been subjected to the mechanical stress of thebioprinter. By successfully differentiating α-cells into β-cells, we may pave a path for analternative cell therapy treatment method that can be used to treat diabetic patients in a healthcare setting as a means of improving patient’s health and quality of life.

Subject Area

Biomedical engineering|Endocrinology

Recommended Citation

Escudero, Atzimba Casas, "Cell Bioprinting: a Novel Approach for Alpha Cell to Beta Cell Transdifferentiation" (2021). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI28963907.