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Stem Cells International
Volume 2010, Article ID 587213, 14 pages
Research Article

Acceleration of Functional Maturation and Differentiation of Neonatal Porcine Islet Cell Monolayers Shortly In Vitro Cocultured with Microencapsulated Sertoli Cells

1Section of Internal Medicine and Endocrine and Metabolic Sciences, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Perugia, 06126 Perugia, Italy
2Department of Experimental Medicine and Biochemical Sciences, University of Perugia, 06126 Perugia, Italy
3Department of Chemistry and Technology of the Drug, School of Pharmacy, University of Perugia, 06126 Perugia, Italy
4Department of Surgery, University of Perugia, 06126 Perugia, Italy

Received 19 March 2009; Revised 20 July 2009; Accepted 27 August 2009

Academic Editor: Paul T. Sharpe

Copyright © 2010 Francesca Mancuso et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The limited availability of cadaveric human donor pancreata as well as the incomplete success of the Edmonton protocol for human islet allografts fasten search for new sources of insulin the producing cells for substitution cell therapy of insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (T1DM). Starting from isolated neonatal porcine pancreatic islets (NPIs), we have obtained cell monolayers that were exposed to microencapsulated monolayered Sertoli cells (ESCs) for different time periods (7, 14, 21 days). To assess the development of the cocultured cell monolayers, we have studied either endocrine cell phenotype differentiation markers or c-kit, a hematopoietic stem cell marker, has recently been involved with growth and differentiation of 𝛽 -cell subpopulations in human as well as rodent animal models. ESC which were found to either accelerate maturation and differentiation of the NPIs 𝛽 -cell phenotype or identify an islet cell subpopulation that was marked positively for c-kit. The insulin/c-kit positive cells might represent a new, still unknown functionally immature 𝛽 -cell like element in the porcine pancreas. Acceleration of maturation and differentiation of our NPI cell monolayers might generate a potential new opportunity to develop insulin-producing cells that may suite experimental trials for cell therapy of T1DM.