Regulatory proteins have been identified in embryonic development of the endocrine pancreas. It is unknown whether these factors can also play a role in the formation of pancreatic endocrine cells from postnatal nonendocrine cells. The present study demonstrates that adult human pancreatic duct cells can be converted into insulin-expressing cells after ectopic, adenovirus-mediated expression of the class B basic helix-loop-helix factor neurogenin 3 (ngn3), which is a critical factor in embryogenesis of the mouse endocrine pancreas. Infection with adenovirus ngn3 (Adngn3) induced gene and/or protein expression of NeuroD/beta2, Pax4, Nkx2.2, Pax6, and Nkx6.1, all known to be essential for beta-cell differentiation in mouse embryos. Expression of ngn3 in adult human duct cells induced Notch ligands Dll1 and Dll4 and neuroendocrine- and beta-cell-specific markers: it increased the percentage of synaptophysin- and insulin-positive cells 15-fold in ngn3-infected versus control cells. Infection with NeuroD/beta2 (a downstream target of ngn3) induced similar effects. These data indicate that the Delta-Notch pathway, which controls embryonic development of the mouse endocrine pancreas, can also operate in adult human duct cells driving them to a neuroendocrine phenotype with the formation of insulin-expressing cells.