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Mesenchymal stromal cell secretory factors induce sustained improvements in islet function pre- and post-transplantation

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1427-1436
Issue number12
Early online date27 Oct 2018
Accepted/In press30 Jul 2018
E-pub ahead of print27 Oct 2018


King's Authors


Background aims Mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) enhance islet function both in vitro and in vivo, at least in part by secreting ligands that activate islet G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs). We assessed whether pre-treatment with a defined “cocktail” of MSC-secreted GPCR ligands enhances islet functional survival in vitro and improves the outcomes of islet transplantation in an experimental model of diabetes. Methods Isolated islets were cultured for 48 h with ANXA1, SDF-1 or C3a, alone or in combination. Glucose-stimulated insulin secretion (GSIS) and cytokine-induced apoptosis were measured immediately after the 48 h culture period and at 24 h or 72 h following removal of the ligands from the culture media. Islets were syngeneically transplanted underneath the kidney capsule of streptozotocin-induced diabetic C57BL/6 mice and blood glucose levels monitored for 28 days. Results Pre-culturing islets with a cocktail of ANXA1/SDF-1/C3a potentiated GSIS and protected islet cells from cytokine-induced apoptosis in vitro. These effects were maintained for up to 72 h after the removal of the factors from the culture medium, suggesting a sustained protection of islet graft functional survival during the immediate post-transplantation period. Islets pre-treated with the cocktail of MSC secretory factors were more effective in reducing blood glucose in diabetic mice, consistent with their improved functional survival in vivo. Discussion Pre-culturing islets with a cocktail of MSC secretory products offers a well-defined, cell-free approach to improve clinical islet transplantation outcomes while avoiding many of the safety, regulatory and logistical hurdles of incorporating MSCs into transplantation protocols.

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