, Volume 44, Issue 3, pp 557-575
Date: 30 Mar 2013

Diabetes-associated macrovascular complications: cell-based therapy a new tool?

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Diabetes mellitus and its ongoing macrovascular complications represent one of the major health problems around the world. Rise in obesity and population ages correlate with the increased incidence of diabetes. This highlights the need for novel approaches to prevent and treat this pandemic. The discovery of a reservoir of stem/progenitors in bone marrow and in mesenchymal tissue has attracted interest of both biologists and clinicians. A number of preclinical and clinical trials were developed to explore their potential clinical impact, as target or vehicle, in different clinical settings, including diabetes complications. Currently, bone marrow, peripheral blood, mesenchymal, and adipose tissues have been used as stem/progenitor cell sources. However, evidences have been provided that both bone marrow and circulating progenitor cells are dysfunctional in diabetes. These observations along with the growing advantages in genetic manipulation have spurred researchers to exploit ex vivo manipulated cells to overcome these hurdles. In this article, we provide an overview of data relevant to stem-progenitors potential clinical application in revascularization and/or vascular repair. Moreover, the hurdles at using progenitor cells in diabetic patients will be also discussed.

Maddalena Gili and Alberto Orsello equally contributed to the study.