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REVIEW: The Testicular-Derived Sertoli Cell: Cellular Immunoscience to Enable Transplantation

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There is a renewed enthusiasm for the potential of cellular transplantation as a therapy for numerous clinical disorders. The revived interest is largely due to the unprecedented success of the “Edmonton protocol,” which produced a 100% cure rate for type I diabetics following the transplantation of human islet allografts together with a modified immunosuppressive regimen. While these data provide a clear and unequivocal demonstration that transplantation is a viable treatment strategy, the shortage of suitable donor tissue together with the debilitating consequences of lifelong immunosuppression necessitate a concerted effort to develop novel means to enable transplantation on a widespread basis. This review outlines the use of Sertoli cells to provide local immunoprotection to cografted discordant cells, including those from xenogeneic sources. Sertoli cells are normally found in the testes where one of their functions is to provide local immunologic protection to developing germ cells. Isolated Sertoli cells 1) engraft and self-protect when transplanted into allogeneic and xenogeneic environments, 2) protect cografted allogeneic and xenogeneic cells from immune destruction, 3) protect islet grafts to reverse diabetes in animal models, 4) enable survival and function of cografted foreign dopaminergic neurons in rodent models of Parkinson's disease (PD), and 5) promote regeneration of damaged striatal dopaminergic circuitry in those same PD models. These benefits are discussed in the context of several potential underlying biological mechanisms. While the majority of work to date has focused on Sertoli cells to facilitate transplantation for diabetes and PD, the generalized ability of these unique cells to potently suppress the local immune environment opens additional clinical possibilities.
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Keywords: Allogeneic cells; Biological mechanisms; Cografting; Diabetes; Immune environment; Immunoprotection; Parkinson's disease; Sertoli cells; Xenogeneic cells

Document Type: Review Article

Affiliations: 1: *Sertoli Technologies, Inc, Cranston RI 2: †Department of General Surgery and The Transplant Center, Carolinas Medical Center, Charlotte, NC

Publication date: 2003-01-01

More about this publication?
  • Cell Transplantation publishes original, peer-reviewed research and review articles on the subject of cell transplantation and its application to human diseases. To ensure high-quality contributions from all areas of transplantation, separate section editors and editorial boards have been established. Articles deal with a wide range of topics including physiological, medical, preclinical, tissue engineering, and device-oriented aspects of transplantation of nervous system, endocrine, growth factor-secreting, bone marrow, epithelial, endothelial, and genetically engineered cells, among others. Basic clinical studies and immunological research papers are also featured. To provide complete coverage of this revolutionary field, Cell Transplantation will report on relevant technological advances, and ethical and regulatory considerations of cell transplants. Cell Transplantation is now an Open Access journal starting with volume 18 in 2009, and therefore there will be an inexpensive publication charge, which is dependent on the number of pages, in addition to the charge for color figures. This will allow work to be disseminated to a wider audience and also entitle the corresponding author to a free PDF, as well as prepublication of an unedited version of the manuscript.

    Cell Transplantation is now being published by SAGE. Please visit their website for the most recent issues.

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