, Volume 66, Issue 2, pp 181-187
Date: 27 Apr 2010

Differentiation of mesenchymal stem cells to insulin-producing cells and their impact on type 1 diabetic rats

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Cell therapy is thought to be a possible approach for treatment of diabetes. Cells with the ability to differentiate into insulin-producing cells (IPCs) would provide an unlimited source of islet cells for transplantation. In this study, the differentiation capacity of rat bone-marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) to IPCs and the feasibility of using them for reversal of hyperglycemia were investigated. In vitro studies indicated that treatment of cells with high glucose concentration, nicotinamide and β-mercaptoethanol resulted to differentiated cells, which had characteristics of IPCs including spherical, grape-like morphology, secretion of insulin, and being positive for dithizone. To test the in vivo function of differentiated MSCs, they were injected into the spleen of diabetic rats. It was shown that diabetic rats who received IPCs, significantly reduced the glucose level, in response to intraperitoneal glucose tolerance (IPGT) test. These results indicate that MSCs are capable of in vitro differentiation into functional IPCs, which can reverse hyperglycemia in rat model of diabetes.