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Human Stem Cells Lower Blood Glucose in Diabetic Mice

Cells also increase mouse insulin secretion

THURSDAY, Nov. 9 (HealthDay News) -- Human stem cells from bone marrow can lower blood glucose and boost the secretion of mouse insulin in diabetic mice, according to a report published online Nov. 6 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Darwin J. Prockop, M.D., Ph.D., and colleagues from Tulane University Health Sciences Center in New Orleans, examined the ability of human mesenchymal stem cells derived from bone marrow to treat diabetes in a mouse model of the disease. Cells were infused into the heart twice after inducing diabetes.

The researchers found that blood glucose levels significantly fell in mice receiving the cells. There was also an increase in pancreatic islet cells and beta-cells producing insulin and significant increases in the levels of mouse, but not human, insulin. Human cells were found in rare pancreatic islets and in kidney glomeruli. Treated mice had fewer pathogenic changes in the kidney, the report indicates.

The results suggest that human mesenchymal stem cells "may be useful in enhancing insulin secretion and perhaps improving the renal lesions that develop in patients with diabetes mellitus," Prockop and colleagues conclude.

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