Reversal of diabetes following transplantation of an insulin-secreting human liver cell line: Melligen cells

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Molecular Therapy - Methods and Clinical Development, 2015, 2 pp. 15011 - ?
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© 2015 American Society of Gene & Cell Therapy As an alternative to the transplantation of islets, a human liver cell line has been genetically engineered to reverse type 1 diabetes (TID). The initial liver cell line (Huh7ins) commenced secretion of insulin in response to a glucose concentration of 2.5 mmol/l. After transfection of the Huh7ins cells with human islet glucokinase, the resultant Melligen cells secreted insulin in response to glucose within the physiological range; commencing at 4.25 mmol/l. Melligen cells exhibited increased glucokinase enzymatic activity in response to physiological glucose concentrations, as compared with Huh7ins cells. When transplanted into diabetic immunoincompetent mice, Melligen cells restored normoglycemia. Quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) revealed that both cell lines expressed a range of β-cell transcription factors and pancreatic hormones. Exposure of Melligen and Huh7ins cells to proinflammatory cytokines (TNF-α, IL-1β, and IFN-γ) affected neither their viability nor their ability to secrete insulin to glucose. Gene expression (microarray and qRT-PCR) analyses indicated the survival of Melligen cells in the presence of known β-cell cytotoxins was associated with the expression of NF-κB and antiapoptotic genes (such as BIRC3). This study describes the successful generation of an artificial β-cell line, which, if encapsulated to avoid allograft rejection, may offer a clinically applicable cure for T1D.
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