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Improved survival and function of insulin producing beta-cells by co-transplantation of stem cells from the nervous system with pancreatic islets

We previously showed that cultures or transplants of neural stem cells together with insulin producing beta-cells are able to stimulate proliferation and promote survival and function of beta-cells. In our research we aim to identify the mechanisms which underlie these remarkable beneficial effects on beta-cells.

Transplantation of pancreatic islets is en established treatment for patients with diabetes type I. Islet survival after transplantation to these patients is, however, insufficient and new strategies to enhance transplant viability need to be developed. The beneficial effects of neural stem cells on beta-cells offer a possibility to improve the outcome of islet or beta-cell transplantation, and also suggest that it might be possible to expand the endogenous beta-cell mass in patients with diabetes type 1. In our research we use culture systems with neural stem cells and beta-cells and have determined that these cells have to be in direct contact with each other in order for neural stem cells to exert their beneficial effects (Diabetologia, accepted). We now aim to determine the nature of these contacts and what mechanisms are involved in mediating beta-cell proliferation.

Project members:

Elena Kozlova, docent

Svitlana Vasylovska, postdoc

Anongnad Ngamjariyawat, doktorand


Inst för medicinsk cellbiologi, Uppsala universitet

Inst för kirurgi, Akademiska sjukhuset, Uppsala

Fria universitetet, Centrum för diabetesforskning, Bryssel, Belgien

Inst för utvecklingsbiologi, Ryska vetenskapsakademien, Moskva, Ryssland

Inst för cytologi, Ryska vetenskapsakademien, St Petersburg, Ryssland




Elena Kozlova

Group leader:

Prof. Elena Kozlova