Boning up on diabetes

Transplantation of bone marrow stem cells initiates pancreatic regeneration in mice

Andrea Rinaldi(rinaldi@unica.it)
Jun 22, 2003

Bone marrow–derived stem cells have shown a greater developmental plasticity than previously believed and consequently hold great therapeutic potential for a variety of disorders. In the June 22 Nature Biotechnology, David Hess and colleagues at the Robarts Research Institute report that transplantation of adult bone marrow stem cells in mice with a diabetes-like illness stimulates pancreatic regeneration (Nature Biotechnology, DOI:10.1038/nbt841, June 22, 2003).

Hess et al. used a mouse model of chemically induced pancreatic damage—injecting the animals with streptozotocin (STZ), a compound that causes a diabetes mellitus–like condition with associated hyperglycemia and hypoinsulinemia. They transplanted bone marrow stem cells into the STZ-treated mice and observed that the stem cells preferentially engrafted damaged pancreatic tissue, localizing to ductal and islet structures. Transplantation was accompanied by a significant reduction in blood sugar levels and by an increase in insulin production, thus reversing the effects of pancreatic damage. Engrafted cells...

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