Type 1 diabetes mellitus is due to the loss of pancreatic islet β cells, and islet transplantation is a promising therapy. However, sustaining pancreatic β cell function and survival is challenge for successful islet transplantation. Stem cells can be used to increase the supply of pancreatic islet β cells and sustain β cell survival. In this review, we briefly summarize how various types of stem cells can be used to either differentiate into functional β cells or to improve the microenvironment of an islet to support β cell. Special attention is paid towards the contribution of bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells to sustain human islet β cell.
Joseph William Kim, John ZQ Luo and LuGuang Luo