Mesenchymal stem cells ameliorate β cell dysfunction of human type 2 diabetic islets by reversing β cell dedifferentiation

Le Wang, Tengli Liu, Rui Liang, Guanqiao Wang, Yaojuan Liu, Jiaqi Zou, Na Liu, Boya Zhang, Yan Liu, Xuejie Ding, Xiangheng Cai, Zhiping Wang, Xiumin Xu, Camillo Ricordi, Shusen Wang, Zhongyang Shen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Background: A physiological hallmark of patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) is β cell dysfunction. Despite adequate treatment, it is an irreversible process that follows disease progression. Therefore, the development of novel therapies that restore β cell function is of utmost importance. Methods: This study aims to unveil the mechanistic action of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) by investigating its impact on isolated human T2DM islets ex vivo and in vivo. Findings: We propose that MSCs can attenuate β cell dysfunction by reversing β cell dedifferentiation in an IL-1Ra-mediated manner. In response to the elevated expression of proinflammatory cytokines in human T2DM islet cells, we observed that MSCs was activated to secret IL-1R antagonist (IL-1Ra) which acted on the inflammed islets and reversed β cell dedifferentiation, suggesting a crosstalk between MSCs and human T2DM islets. The co-transplantation of MSCs with human T2DM islets in diabetic SCID mice and intravenous infusion of MSCs in db/db mice revealed the reversal of β cell dedifferentiation and improved glycaemic control in the latter. Interpretation: This evidence highlights the potential of MSCs in future cell-based therapies regarding the amelioration of β cell dysfunction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number102615
StatePublished - Jan 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Inflammation
  • Mesenchymal stem cells
  • Type 2 diabetes mellitus
  • β cell dedifferentiation
  • β cell dysfunction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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