March 18, 2013

A Green Thumb for Islet Transplants

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200548983-001Two major hurdles in curing T1D exist. One is the source of islets. The other is providing a protective and nurturing environment for those precious islets once they are in-house. A study published in PLoS One may have a piece to fit part of this puzzle.  The A-team on the field stars endothelial cells (ECs) and Sertoli cells (SCs).

Endothelial cells makeup the thin layer of cells that line the interior surface of blood vessel. Sertoli cells are highly specialized cells found in the testes.

ECs  are the basis of islet vascularization and SCs have the talent to provide nutritional support and exert immunosuppressive effects. This is the ideal environment for transplanted islets.

By coating the islets with ECs and infusing the islets with nutritious and protective elements from SCs, the study proved to provide an environment conducive for successful islet graft.

The EC and SC combination therapy improved the survival and vascularization as well as inhibited lymphocytes and inflammatory cytokines. Furthermore, because the survival rate improved, the islet function improved, as well.

Now we know how to make the garden grow. Where do we get the seeds to plant?

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