Cell Regeneration

Weaning means more than no more milk

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Science  27 Mar 2015:
Vol. 347, Issue 6229, pp. 1433
DOI: 10.1126/science.347.6229.1433-a

Weaning enhances the regenerative potential of pancreatic beta cells

PHOTO: TOM MCHUGH/SCIENCE SOURCE

Nursing mothers provide much needed nutrition to offspring, but the full effects of weaning on offspring's physiology is unknown. Stolovich-Rain et al. now show that in mice, weaning affects the function of insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas. The ability of beta cells to regenerate after injury or to modulate their insulin secretion decreases with age. However, beta cells also regenerated poorly in response to injury in very young mice and only gained this function upon weaning. These results suggest that at least for mouse beta cells, weaning jump-starts the cell cycle and modulates insulin production in response to glucose.

Curr. Biol. 24, 2733 (2014).

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