Published online Apr 26, 2014. doi: 10.4252/wjsc.v6.i2.163
Revised: December 20, 2013
Accepted: March 3, 2014
Published online: April 26, 2014
Islet cell transplantation has therapeutic potential to treat type 1 diabetes, which is characterized by autoimmune destruction of insulin-producing pancreatic islet β cells. It represents a minimal invasive approach for β cell replacement, but long-term blood control is still largely unachievable. This phenomenon can be attributed to the lack of islet vasculature and hypoxic environment in the immediate post-transplantation period that contributes to the acute loss of islets by ischemia. Moreover, graft failures continue to occur because of immunological rejection, despite the use of potent immunosuppressive agents. Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have the potential to enhance islet transplantation by suppressing inflammatory damage and immune mediated rejection. In this review we discuss the impact of MSCs on islet transplantation and focus on the potential role of MSCs in protecting islet grafts from early graft failure and from autoimmune attack.
Core tip: Type 1 diabetes is caused by a cell-mediated autoimmune destruction of pancreatic β cells. The transplantation of pancreatic islets provides a cure for this disorder. In this review, we first summarize the current knowledge on the pathogenesis of type 1 diabetes and on the therapeutic options for this disorder. Next we discuss the impact of mesenchymal stem cells on vascularization and immunomodulation of islet transplantation.