The islets of Langerhans are complex tissues composed of several cell types that secrete hormones. Loss or dysfunction of the insulin-producing β cells leads to dysregulation of blood glucose levels, resulting in diabetes. A major goal in cellular engineering has been to generate β cells from stem cells for use in cell-based therapies. However, the presence of other cell types within these islets can mask important details about β cells when using population-level assays. Single-cell RNA sequencing has enabled transcriptional assessment of individual cells within mixed populations. These technologies allow for accurate assessment of specific cell types and subtypes of β cells. Studies investigating different stages of β-cell maturity have led to several insights into understanding islet development and diabetes pathology. Here, we highlight the key findings from the use of single-cell RNA sequencing on stem cell–derived and primary human islet cells found in different maturation and diabetic states.
- Single-cell RNA sequencing
- Stem cells