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Diabetes Metab. 2009 Apr;35(2):85-93. doi: 10.1016/j.diabet.2008.10.003. Epub 2009 Feb 20.

Mesenchymal stem cells: Stem cell therapy perspectives for type 1 diabetes.

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  • 1Inserm U697, Paris, France.


Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are multipotent non-haematopoietic progenitor cells that are being explored as a promising new treatment for tissue regeneration. Although their immunomodulatory properties are not yet completely understood, their low immunogenic potential together with their effects on immune response make them a promising therapeutic tool for severe refractory autoimmune diseases. Type 1 diabetes is characterized by T cell-mediated autoimmune destruction of pancreatic beta cells. While insulin replacement represents the current therapy for type 1 diabetes, its metabolic control remains difficult, as exogenous insulin cannot exactly mimic the physiology of insulin secretion. Pancreatic or islet transplantation can provide exogenous insulin independence, but is limited by its intrinsic complications and the scarcity of organ donors. In this context, stem cell therapy, based on the generation of insulin-producing cells (IPCs) derived from MSCs, represents an attractive possibility. In this review, we provide a brief characterization of MSC immunomodulatory effects, and present the current experimental evidence for the potential therapeutic efficacy of MSC transplantation in diabetes.

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