Stem Cell Therapy for Diabetes: Beta Cells versus Pancreatic Progenitors.
ABSTRACT: Diabetes mellitus (DM) is one of the most prevalent metabolic disorders. In order to replace the function of the destroyed pancreatic beta cells in diabetes, islet transplantation is the most widely practiced treatment. However, it has several limitations. As an alternative approach, human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs) can provide an unlimited source of pancreatic cells that have the ability to secrete insulin in response to a high blood glucose level. However, the determination of the appropriate pancreatic lineage candidate for the purpose of cell therapy for the treatment of diabetes is still debated. While hPSC-derived beta cells are perceived as the ultimate candidate, their efficiency needs further improvement in order to obtain a sufficient number of glucose responsive beta cells for transplantation therapy. On the other hand, hPSC-derived pancreatic progenitors can be efficiently generated in vitro and can further mature into glucose responsive beta cells in vivo after transplantation. Herein, we discuss the advantages and predicted challenges associated with the use of each of the two pancreatic lineage products for diabetes cell therapy. Furthermore, we address the co-generation of functionally relevant islet cell subpopulations and structural properties contributing to the glucose responsiveness of beta cells, as well as the available encapsulation technology for these cells.
Project description:In type 1 diabetes, a renewable source of human pancreatic β cells, in particular from human induced pluripotent stem cell (hiPSC) origin, would greatly benefit cell therapy. Earlier work showed that pancreatic progenitors differentiated from human embryonic stem cells in vitro can further mature to become glucose responsive following macroencapsulation and transplantation in mice. Here we took a similar approach optimizing the generation of pancreatic progenitors from hiPSCs. This work demonstrates that hiPSCs differentiated to pancreatic endoderm in vitro can be efficiently and robustly generated under large-scale conditions. The hiPSC-derived pancreatic endoderm cells (HiPECs) can further differentiate into glucose-responsive islet-like cells following macroencapsulation and in vivo implantation. The HiPECs can protect mice from streptozotocin-induced hyperglycemia and maintain normal glucose homeostasis and equilibrated plasma glucose concentrations at levels similar to the human set point. These results further validate the potential use of hiPSC-derived islet cells for application in clinical settings.
Project description:The generation of insulin-producing pancreatic cells from stem cells in vitro would provide an unprecedented cell source for drug discovery and cell transplantation therapy in diabetes. However, insulin-producing cells previously generated from human pluripotent stem cells (hPSC) lack many functional characteristics of bona fide β cells. Here we report a scalable differentiation protocol that can generate hundreds of millions of glucose-responsive β cells from hPSC in vitro. These stem cell derived cells (SC) express markers found in mature β cells, flux Ca2+ in response to glucose, package insulin into secretory granules and secrete quantities of insulin comparable to adult β cells in response to multiple sequential glucose challenges in vitro. Furthermore, these cells secrete human insulin into the serum of mice shortly after transplantation in a glucose-regulated manner, and transplantation of these cells ameliorates hyperglycemia in diabetic mice. Differentiated cells were sorted and processed for RNA isolation using the MARIS protocol published previously (PMID: 24516164.) Human embryonic stem cell (hESC) line HUES8 was differentiated into SC-beta cells. Two biological replicates were analyzed. Those data were normalized together with and compared to existing, previously published data from Hrvatin et al. ( (PMID: 24516164) from human islet -derived insulin+ cells, undifferentiated HUES8 hES cells, and insulin+ cells derived from HUES8 cells according to previously published protocols.
Project description:The generation of insulin-producing pancreatic ? cells from stem cells in vitro would provide an unprecedented cell source for drug discovery and cell transplantation therapy in diabetes. However, insulin-producing cells previously generated from human pluripotent stem cells (hPSC) lack many functional characteristics of bona fide ? cells. Here, we report a scalable differentiation protocol that can generate hundreds of millions of glucose-responsive ? cells from hPSC in vitro. These stem-cell-derived ? cells (SC-?) express markers found in mature ? cells, flux Ca(2+) in response to glucose, package insulin into secretory granules, and secrete quantities of insulin comparable to adult ? cells in response to multiple sequential glucose challenges in vitro. Furthermore, these cells secrete human insulin into the serum of mice shortly after transplantation in a glucose-regulated manner, and transplantation of these cells ameliorates hyperglycemia in diabetic mice.
Project description:Insulin secretion is elaborately modulated in pancreatic ß cells within islets of three-dimensional (3D) structures. Using human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs) to develop islet-like structures with insulin-producing ß cells for the treatment of diabetes is challenging. Here, we report that pancreatic islet-like clusters derived from hESCs are functionally capable of glucose-responsive insulin secretion as well as therapeutic effects. Pancreatic hormone-expressing endocrine cells (ECs) were differentiated from hESCs using a step-wise protocol. The hESC-derived ECs expressed pancreatic endocrine hormones, such as insulin, somatostatin, and pancreatic polypeptide. Notably, dissociated ECs autonomously aggregated to form islet-like, 3D structures of consistent sizes (100-150??m in diameter). These EC clusters (ECCs) enhanced insulin secretion in response to glucose stimulus and potassium channel inhibition in vitro. Furthermore, ß cell-deficient mice transplanted with ECCs survived for more than 40?d while retaining a normal blood glucose level to some extent. The expression of pancreatic endocrine hormones was observed in tissues transplanted with ECCs. In addition, ECCs could be generated from human induced pluripotent stem cells. These results suggest that hPSC-derived, islet-like clusters may be alternative therapeutic cell sources for treating diabetes.
Project description:Allogeneic islet transplantation serves as a source of insulin-secreting beta-cells for the maintenance of normal glucose levels and treatment of diabetes. However, limited availability of islets, high rates of islet graft failure, and the need for life-long non-specific immunosuppressive therapy are major obstacles to the widespread application of this therapeutic approach. To overcome these problems, pancreatic islet transplantation was recently suggested as a potential target of the "therapeutic plasticity" of adult stem cells. In fact, new results suggest that stem/precursor cells, and mesenchymal stem cells in particular, co-transplanted with islets can promote tissue engraftment and beta-cell survival via bystander mechanisms, mainly exerted by creating a milieu of cytoprotective and immunomodulatory molecules. This evidence consistently challenges the limited view that stem/precursor cells work exclusively through beta-cell replacement in diabetes therapy. It proposes that stem cells also act as "feeder" cells for islets, and supporter of graft protection, tissue revascularization, and immune acceptance. This article reviews the experience of using stem cell co-transplantation as strategy to improve islet transplantation. It highlights that comprehension of the mechanisms involved will help to identify new molecular targets and promote development of new pharmacological strategies to treat type 1 and type 2 diabetes patients.
Project description:Type-1 diabetes is characterized by high blood glucose levels due to a failure of insulin secretion from beta cells within pancreatic islets. Current treatment strategies consist of multiple, daily injections of insulin or transplantation of either the whole pancreas or isolated pancreatic islets. While there are different forms of insulin with tunable pharmacokinetics (fast, intermediate, and long-acting), improper dosing continues to be a major limitation often leading to complications resulting from hyper- or hypo-glycemia. Glucose-responsive insulin delivery systems, consisting of a glucose sensor connected to an insulin infusion pump, have improved dosing but they still suffer from inaccurate feedback, biofouling and poor patient compliance. Islet transplantation is a promising strategy but requires multiple donors per patient and post-transplantation islet survival is impaired by inflammation and suboptimal revascularization. This review discusses how nano- and micro-technologies, as well as tissue engineering approaches, can overcome many of these challenges and help contribute to an artificial pancreas-like system.
Project description:Generation of pancreatic ? cells from human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs) holds promise as a cell replacement therapy for diabetes. In this study, we establish a link between the state of the actin cytoskeleton and the expression of pancreatic transcription factors that drive pancreatic lineage specification. Bulk and single-cell RNA sequencing demonstrated that different degrees of actin polymerization biased cells toward various endodermal lineages and that conditions favoring a polymerized cytoskeleton strongly inhibited neurogenin 3-induced endocrine differentiation. Using latrunculin A to depolymerize the cytoskeleton during endocrine induction, we developed a two-dimensional differentiation protocol for generating human pluripotent stem-cell-derived ? (SC-?) cells with improved in vitro and in vivo function. SC-? cells differentiated from four hPSC lines exhibited first- and second-phase dynamic glucose-stimulated insulin secretion. Transplantation of islet-sized aggregates of these cells rapidly reversed severe preexisting diabetes in mice at a rate close to that of human islets and maintained normoglycemia for at least 9 months.
Project description:Diabetes is linked to loss of pancreatic beta-cells. Pluripotent stem cells offer a valuable source of human beta-cells for basic studies of their biology and translational applications. However, the signalling pathways that regulate beta-cell development and functional maturation are not fully understood. Here we report a high content chemical screen, revealing that H1152, a ROCK inhibitor, promotes the robust generation of insulin-expressing cells from multiple hPSC lines. The insulin expressing cells obtained after H1152 treatment show increased expression of mature beta cell markers and improved glucose stimulated insulin secretion. Moreover, the H1152-treated beta-like cells show enhanced glucose stimulated insulin secretion and increased capacity to maintain glucose homeostasis after transplantation. Conditional gene knockdown reveals that inhibition of ROCKII promotes the generation and maturation of glucose-responding cells. This study provides a strategy to promote human beta-cell maturation and identifies an unexpected role for the ROCKII pathway in the development and maturation of beta-like cells.Our incomplete understanding of how pancreatic beta cells form limits the generation of beta-like cells from human pluripotent stem cells (hPSC). Here, the authors identify a ROCKII inhibitor H1152 as increasing insulin secreting cells from hPSCs and improving beta-cell maturation on transplantation in vivo.
Project description:Type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1D) is a chronic, multifactorial autoimmune disease that involves the progressive destruction of pancreatic β-cells, ultimately resulting in the loss of insulin production and secretion. The goal of clinical intervention is to prevent or arrest the onset and progression of autoimmunity, reverse β-cell destruction, and restore glycometabolic and immune homeostasis. Despite promising outcomes observed with islet transplantation and advancements in immunomodulatory therapies, the need for an effective cell replacement strategy for curing T1D still persists. Stem cell therapy offers a solution to the cited challenges of islet transplantation. While the regenerative potential of stem cells can be harnessed to make available a self-replenishing supply of glucose-responsive insulin-producing cells, their immunomodulatory properties may potentially be used to prevent, arrest, or reverse autoimmunity, ameliorate innate/alloimmune graft rejection, and prevent recurrence of the disease. Herein, we discuss the therapeutic potential of stem cells derived from a variety of sources for the cure of T1D, for example, embryonic stem cells, induced pluripotent stem cells, bone marrow-derived hematopoietic stem cells, and multipotent mesenchymal stromal cells derived from bone marrow, umbilical cord blood, and adipose tissue. The benefits of combinatorial approaches designed to ensure the successful clinical translation of stem cell therapeutic strategies, such as approaches combining effective stem cell strategies with islet transplantation, immunomodulatory drug regimens, and/or novel bioengineering techniques, are also discussed. To conclude, the application of stem cell therapy in the cure for T1D appears extremely promising.
Project description:Type 1 diabetes mellitus is caused by immune-mediated destruction of pancreatic beta-cells leading to insulin deficiency, impaired intermediary metabolism, and elevated blood glucose concentrations. While at autoimmune diabetes onset a limited number of beta-cells persist, the cells' regenerative potential and its regulation have remained largely unexplored. Using two mouse autoimmune diabetes models, this study examined the proliferation of pancreatic islet ss-cells and other endocrine and non-endocrine subsets, and the factors regulating that proliferation.We adapted multi-parameter flow cytometry techniques (including DNA-content measurements and 5'-bromo-2'-deoxyuridine [BrdU] incorporation) to study pancreatic islet single cell suspensions. These studies demonstrate that beta-cell proliferation rapidly increases at diabetes onset, and that this proliferation is closely correlated with the diabetic animals' elevated blood glucose levels. For instance, we show that when normoglycemia is restored by exogenous insulin or islet transplantation, the beta-cell proliferation rate returns towards low levels found in control animals, yet surges when hyperglycemia recurs. In contrast, other-than-ss endocrine islet cells did not exhibit the same glucose-dependent proliferative responses. Rather, disease-associated alterations of BrdU-incorporation rates of delta-cells (minor decrease), and non-endocrine islet cells (slight increase) were not affected by blood glucose levels, or were inversely related to glycemia control after diabetes onset (alpha-cells).We conclude that murine beta-cells' ability to proliferate in response to metabolic need (i.e. rising blood glucose concentrations) is remarkably well preserved during severe, chronic beta-cell autoimmunity. These data suggest that timely control of the destructive immune response after disease manifestation could allow spontaneous regeneration of sufficient beta-cell mass to restore normal glucose homeostasis.