Multipotent stromal cells from human marrow home to and promote repair of pancreatic islets and renal glomeruli in diabetic NOD/scid mice

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2006 Nov 14;103(46):17438-43. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0608249103. Epub 2006 Nov 6.


We tested the hypothesis that multipotent stromal cells from human bone marrow (hMSCs) can provide a potential therapy for human diabetes mellitus. Severe but nonlethal hyperglycemia was produced in NOD/scid mice with daily low doses of streptozotocin on days 1-4, and hMSCs were delivered via intracardiac infusion on days 10 and 17. The hMSCs lowered blood glucose levels in the diabetic mice on day 32 relative to untreated controls (18.34 mM +/- 1.12 SE vs. 27.78 mM +/- 2.45 SE, P = 0.0019). ELISAs demonstrated that blood levels of mouse insulin were higher in the hMSC-treated as compared with untreated diabetic mice, but human insulin was not detected. PCR assays detected human Alu sequences in DNA in pancreas and kidney on day 17 or 32 but not in other tissues, except heart, into which the cells were infused. In the hMSC-treated diabetic mice, there was an increase in pancreatic islets and beta cells producing mouse insulin. Rare islets contained human cells that colabeled for human insulin or PDX-1. Most of the beta cells in the islets were mouse cells that expressed mouse insulin. In kidneys of hMSC-treated diabetic mice, human cells were found in the glomeruli. There was a decrease in mesangial thickening and a decrease in macrophage infiltration. A few of the human cells appeared to differentiate into glomerular endothelial cells. Therefore, the results raised the possibility that hMSCs may be useful in enhancing insulin secretion and perhaps improving the renal lesions that develop in patients with diabetes mellitus.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Bone Marrow Cells / cytology*
  • Cell Differentiation*
  • Cell Movement
  • DNA / genetics
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / complications
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / metabolism
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / pathology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / surgery
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Humans
  • Insulin / blood
  • Islets of Langerhans / metabolism
  • Islets of Langerhans / pathology*
  • Kidney Glomerulus / metabolism
  • Kidney Glomerulus / pathology*
  • Male
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cell Transplantation
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred NOD
  • Stromal Cells / cytology


  • Blood Glucose
  • Insulin
  • DNA