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Open Access Bone Marrow and Pancreatic Islets: An Old Story With New Perspectives

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In the past years, in the field of β-cell replacement for diabetes therapy, the easy availability of bone marrow (BM) and the widely consolidated clinical experience in the field of hematology have contributed to the development of strategy to achieve donor-specific transplantation tolerance. Recently, the potential role of BM in diabetes therapy has been reassessed from a different point of view. Diverse groups investigated the contribution of BM cells to β-cell replacement as direct differentiation into insulin-producing cells. More importantly, while direct differentiation is highly unlikely, a wide array of experimental evidences indicates that cells of BM origin are capable of facilitating the survival or the endogenous regeneration of β-cells through an as yet well-defined regeneration process. These new experimental in vitro and in vivo data will expand in the near future the clinical trials involving BM or BM-derived cells to cure both type 1 and type 2 diabetes in humans. In this review we recapitulate the history of use of BM in diabetes therapy and we provide clinically relevant actual information about the participation of BM and BM-derived stem cells in islet cell regeneration processes. Furthermore, new aspects such as employing BM as “feeder tissue” for pancreatic islets and new clinical use of BM in diabetes therapy are discussed.

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Keywords: Bone marrow; Bone marrow-derived cells; Diabetes; Pancreatic islets

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Haematology and BMT Unit, San Raffaele Scientific Institute, Milan, Italy

Publication date: 2010-12-01

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  • 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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