Journal of cellular physiology

Generation of insulin-producing cells from PDX-1 gene-modified human mesenchymal stem cells.

PMID 17226789


Islet cell replacement is considered as the optimal treatment for type I diabetes. However, the availability of human pancreatic islets for transplantation is limited. Here, we show that human bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) could be induced to differentiate into functional insulin-producing cells by introduction of the pancreatic duodenal homeobox-1 (PDX-1). Recombinant adenoviral vector was used to deliver PDX-1 gene into hMSCs. After being infected with Ad-PDX-1, hMSCs were successfully induced to differentiate into insulin-secreting cells. The differentiated PDX-1+ hMSCs expressed multiple islet-cell genes including neurogenin3 (Ngn3), insulin, GK, Glut2, and glucagon, produced and released insulin/C-peptide in a weak glucose-regulated manner. After the differentiated PDX-1+ hMSCs were transplanted into STZ-induced diabetic mice, euglycemia can be obtained within 2 weeks and maintained for at least 42 days. These findings validate the hMSCs model system as a potential basis for enrichment of human beta cells or their precursors, and a possible source for cell replacement therapy in diabetes.