Feline Adipose Derived Multipotent Stromal Cell Transdifferentiation Into Functional Insulin Producing Cell Clusters

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Diabetes mellitus (DM) is one of the most prevalent feline endocrinopathies, affecting up to 1% of pet cats. De novo generation of functional insulin producing cell (IPC) clusters transdifferentiation of feline adipose-derived multipotent stromal cells (ASCs) may not only provide a viable, functional cell therapy for feline DM, but may also serve as a platform for developing a comparable human treatment given feline and human DM similarities. Cells were induced to form IPCs with a novel, three-stage culture process with stromal or differentiation medium under static and dynamic conditions. Clusters were evaluated for intracellular zinc, viability, intracellular insulin, glucagon, and somatostatin, ultrastructure, glucose stimulated insulin secretion in the presence or absence of theophylline, and protein and gene expression. Isolated cells were multipotent, and cell clusters cultured in both media had robust cell viability. Those cultured in differentiation medium contained zinc and mono- or polyhormonal α-, β-, and δ-like cells based on immunohistochemical labeling and Mallory-Heidenhan Azan-Gomori's staining. Ultrastructurally, cell clusters cultured in differentiation medium contained insulin granules within vesicles, and clusters had a concentration-dependent insulin response to glucose in the presence and absence of theophylline which increased both insulin secretion and intracellular content. Expression of NK6.1, Pax6, Isl1, Glut2, RAB3A, glucagon, insulin, and somatostatin increased with differentiation stage for both sexes, and expression of nestin at stages 1 and 2 and Neurod1 at stage 2 was higher in cells from female donors. The cluster insulin secretion responses and endocrine and oncogene gene expression profiles were inconsistent with insulinoma characteristics. A total of 180 proteins were upregulated in differentiated clusters, and the majority were associated with biological regulation, metabolic processes, or stimulus response. Dynamic culture of IPC clusters resulted in clusters composed of cells primarily expressing insulin that released higher insulin with glucose stimulation than those in static culture. Collectively, the results of this study support generation of functional IPC clusters using feline ASCs isolated from tissues removed during routine sterilization. Further, cluster functionality is enhanced with dynamic, motion-driven shear stress. This work establishes a foundation for development of strategies for IPC therapy for short or long-term diabetes treatment and may represent an option to study prevention and treatment of diabetes across species.

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Frontiers in bioengineering and biotechnology

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