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Mesenchymal Stem Cells In Islet Transplantion Open Access


Other title
Mesenchymal stem cell
Islet transplantation
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Yeung, Telford Y
Supervisor and department
Korbutt, Gregory (Surgery)
Examining committee member and department
Rayat, Gina (Surgery)
Lynn, Francis (University of British Columbia)
Thebaud, Bernard (Pediatrics)
Braun, Matthias (Pharmacology)
Department of Surgery

Date accepted
Graduation date
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
Type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM) is a chronic disorder of glucose metabolism due to autoimmune destruction of insulin producing β-cells. Although insulin therapy is the standard treatment for T1DM, islet transplantation, which has emerged as an alternative to insulin injection, offers a more physiologic means of glycemic control. Unfortunately, the sustainability of islet function is poor. Most islet recipients experience loss of graft function and need to resume insulin therapy. Post-transplant inflammation, allograft rejection and anti-rejection drug toxicity are several factors that contribute to the loss of graft function. The primary cause of islet graft impairment immediately after transplantation is inflammation. Our aim is to prevent or minimize islet dysfunction after transplantation. The growing tempo of discoveries in stem cell therapies has opened avenues to explore improvements in islet graft survival. Mesenchymal stem cells are currently being examined for clinical therapies of various inflammatory disorders, such as sepsis and graft versus host disease. The objective of the first study is to examine the cytoprotective effects of MSCs on islets in the presence of pro-inflammatory cytokines. Human islets were co-cultured with bone marrow derived MSCs followed by exposure to pro-inflammatory cytokines in vitro. Glucose stimulated insulin secretion was preserved and β-cell apoptosis was prevented in the islets cultured with MSCs. However, the mechanism of protection is unclear. In the second study, we speculated the protection conveyed by MSCs was dependent on the physical interaction between islets and MSCs. Direct contact in islet and MSC co-cultures showed favorable results. When islets and MSCs were separated by a barrier, the MSCs were able to preserve islet function, but insulin content was decreased. We concluded that direct contact with MSCs is more beneficial than indirect contact for human islets. In the third study, the protective effect of MSCs on islets was examined in a preclinical mouse model of islet transplantation. The kidney is not an optimal site to assess the beneficial effect of co-transplanting islets and MSCs. On the other hand, intravenous MSC injection after islet transplantation improved islet function, but the effect was short-lived. These results suggest that MSCs are a promising solution to prolong islet graft function.
Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
Citation for previous publication
Yeung TY, Seeberger KL, Kin T, Adesida A, Jomha N, Shapiro AMJ, Korbutt GS. Human Mesenchymal Stem Cells Protect Human Islets from Pro-inflammatory Cytokines. PLoS ONE 2012;7(5) e38189. doi:10.1371/Journal.pone 0038189.

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