3D-Models of Insulin-Producing β-Cells: from Primary Islet Cells to Stem Cell-Derived Islets
Review article, 2018

There is a need for physiologically relevant assay platforms to provide functionally relevant models of diabetes, to accelerate the discovery of new treatment options and boost developments in drug discovery. In this review, we compare several 3D-strategies that have been used to increase the functional relevance of ex vivo human primary pancreatic islets and developments into the generation of stem cell derived pancreatic beta-cells (β-cells). Special attention will be given to recent approaches combining the use of extracellular matrix (ECM) scaffolds with pancreatic molecular memory, which can be used to improve yield and functionality of in vitro stem cell-derived pancreatic models. The ultimate goal is to develop scalable cell-based platforms for diabetes research and drug screening. This article will critically assess key aspects related to in vitro pancreatic 3D-ECM models and highlight the most promising approaches for future research.

Human pancreatic islets

Stem cell-derived β-cells


Pancreatic ECM


Decellularized scaffolds



Diana Ribeiro

Chalmers, Biology and Biological Engineering, Chemical Biology

Alexander J. Kvist

AstraZeneca AB

Pernilla Wittung Stafshede

Chalmers, Biology and Biological Engineering, Chemical Biology

Ryan Hicks

AstraZeneca AB

Anna Forslow

AstraZeneca AB

Stem Cell Reviews and Reports

1550-8943 (ISSN) 1558-6804 (eISSN)

Vol. 14 2 177-188

Subject Categories

Cell Biology

Areas of Advance

Life Science Engineering (2010-2018)



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7/7/2021 7