The primary cause of the loss of functionality in transplanted pancreatic islets is their low capacity to create new vessels to transport nutrients. Researchers from the University of Barcelona and IDIBAPS have led a study that identifies a protein as the potential modulator in the revascularization of pancreatic islets.
In the study, conducted on diabetic mice with islet transplant from other animals or human islets, researchers showed that grafts without this protein have a higher revascularization, favouring the viability of cells. Regular sugar levels and glucose tolerance were also recovered.
The study was coordinated by Ramon Gomis, professor at the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences of the University of Barcelona, and Rosa Gasa, researcher in the same group. The first author of the study, published in the journal Science Translational Medicine, is Hugo Figueiredo, researcher in the IDIBAPS group.
Regenerative medicine for type 1 diabetes treatment
One of the used strategies in type 1 diabetes treatment based on regenerative medicine is pancreatic islet transplantation. Islets are formed by different types of cells and produce hormones such as insulin and glucagon. In type 1 diabetes, beta cells in islets responsible for the production of insulin are selectively destroyed by an autoimmune process.