Intra-pancreatic tissue-derived mesenchymal stromal cells: a promising therapeutic potential with anti-inflammatory and pro-angiogenic profiles

Stem Cell Res Ther. 2019 Nov 15;10(1):322. doi: 10.1186/s13287-019-1435-2.


Background: Human pancreata contain many types of cells, such as endocrine islets, acinar, ductal, fat, and mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs). MSCs are important and shown to have a promising therapeutic potential to treat various disease conditions.

Methods: We investigated intra-pancreatic tissue-derived (IPTD) MSCs isolated from tissue fractions that are routinely discarded during pancreatic islet isolation of human cadaveric donors. Furthermore, whether pro-angiogenic and anti-inflammatory properties of these cells could be enhanced was investigated.

Results: IPTD-MSCs were expanded in GMP-compatible CMRL-1066 medium supplemented with 5% human platelet lysate (hPL). IPTD-MSCs were found to be highly pure, with > 95% positive for CD90, CD105, and CD73, and negative for CD45, CD34, CD14, and HLA-DR. Immunofluorescence staining of pancreas tissue demonstrated the presence of CD105+ cells in the vicinity of islets. IPTD-MSCs were capable of differentiation into adipocytes, chondrocytes, and osteoblasts in vitro, underscoring their multipotent features. When these cells were cultured in the presence of a low dose of TNF-α, gene expression of tumor necrosis factor alpha-stimulated gene-6 (TSG-6) was significantly increased, compared to control. In contrast, treating cells with dimethyloxallyl glycine (DMOG) (a prolyl 4-hydroxylase inhibitor) enhanced mRNA levels of nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (NRF2) and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). Interestingly, a combination of TNF-α and DMOG stimulated the optimal expression of all three genes in IPTD-MSCs. Conditioned medium of IPTD-MSCs treated with a combination of DMOG and TNF-α contained higher levels of pro-angiogenic (VEGF, IL-6, and IL-8) compared to controls, promoting angiogenesis of human endothelial cells in vitro. In contrast, levels of MCP-1, a pro-inflammatory cytokine, were reduced in the conditioned medium of IPTD-MSCs treated with a combination of DMOG and TNF-α.

Conclusions: The results demonstrate that IPTD-MSCs reside within the pancreas and can be separated as part of a standard islet-isolation protocol. These IPTD-MSCs can be expanded and potentiated ex vivo to enhance their anti-inflammatory and pro-angiogenic profiles. The fact that IPTD-MSCs are generated in a GMP-compatible procedure implicates a direct clinical application.

Keywords: Angiogenesis; Anti-inflammatory; Mesenchymal stromal cells; NRF2; TSG-6; Type 1 diabetes; VEGF.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / metabolism*
  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Blood Platelets / metabolism
  • Cell Differentiation / drug effects
  • Cell Lineage / drug effects
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects
  • Endoglin / metabolism
  • Glycine / analogs & derivatives
  • Glycine / pharmacology
  • Human Umbilical Vein Endothelial Cells / drug effects
  • Human Umbilical Vein Endothelial Cells / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Insulin / metabolism
  • Male
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cell Transplantation*
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / drug effects
  • Middle Aged
  • Neovascularization, Physiologic* / drug effects
  • Pancreas / cytology*
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / pharmacology
  • Up-Regulation / drug effects


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Biomarkers
  • Endoglin
  • Insulin
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • dimethyloxallyl glycine
  • Glycine