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Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2006 Jul 7;345(3):1167-76. Epub 2006 May 11.

Multipotential nestin and Isl-1 positive mesenchymal stem cells isolated from human pancreatic islets.

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  • 1Division for Endocrinology, Diabetes and Clinical Nutrition, Department of Research, University Hospital Basel, Switzerland.


Mesenchymal cells in the developing pancreas express the neural stem cell marker nestin and the transcription factor islet-1 (Isl-1). Using defined culture conditions we isolated on a single cell basis nestin producing cells from human pancreatic islets. These cells were immortalized with lentiviral vectors coding for telomerase and mBmi. They are positive for Isl-1 and nestin and have the potential to adopt a pancreatic endocrine phenotype with expression of critical transcription factors including Ipf-1, Isl-1, Ngn-3, Pax4, Pax6, Nkx2.2, and Nkx6.1 as well as the islet hormones insulin, glucagon, and somatostatin. In addition, they can be differentiated into human albumin producing cells in vivo when grafted into a SCID mouse liver. In accordance with a mesenchymal phenotype, the cells were also able to adopt adipocytic or osteocytic phenotypes in vitro. In conclusion, cultured pancreatic islets contain nestin and Isl-1 positive mesenchymal stem cells with multipotential developmental capacity.

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