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Med Hypotheses. 2006;66(6):1157-60. Epub 2006 Feb 14.

Administration of human umbilical cord blood to low birth weight infants may prevent the subsequent development of type 2 diabetes.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical School, Newark, 07103, USA.


Both epidemiological and experimental studies have shown that impaired growth in utero due to maternal malnutrition, resulting in low birth weight, is associated with a high incidence of glucose intolerance, insulin resistance, and type 2 diabetes in adult life. Maternal malnutrition is a worldwide problem and unavoidable; therefore, prevention of type 2 diabetes in low birth weight infants who reach adulthood is difficult to achieve. Administration of human umbilical cord blood (HUCB) mononuclear cells into type 1 and type 2 diabetic mice has been shown to improve both their blood glucose levels and survival. It has also been shown that the progenitor cells derived from HUCB improve not only glycemia but also other disease conditions, including systemic lupus erythematosis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Alzheimer's disease, stroke, brain damage in animals and certain malignancies in humans. Transfusion of unrelated HUCB, although abundantly available, is underutilized as a therapeutic agent. Therefore, we propose the hypothesis that transfusion of HUCB to low birth weight infants be considered a therapeutic modality to prevent the development of type 2 diabetes in their adulthood.

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