Hematopoietic stem cells derived from adult donors are not a source of pancreatic β-cells in adult nondiabetic humans

Alexandra E. Butler, Andrew Huang, P. Nagesh Rao, Anil Bhushan, William J. Hogan, Robert A. Rizza, Peter C. Butler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

37 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE - Type 1 and type 2 diabetes are characterized by an ∼98 and ∼65% loss of pancreatic β-cells, respectively. Efforts to reverse either form of diabetes increasingly focus on the possibility of promoting β-cell replacement and/or regeneration. Islet transplantation has been explored, but it does not provide long-term insulin independence. One possible source of β-cell regeneration is hematopoietic stem cells. In mice, there are conflicting data as to whether hematopoietic stem cells contribute to pancreatic β-cells. We sought to establish whether hematopoietic stem cells (derived from adult donors) transdifferentiate into pancreatic β-cells in adult humans. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS - We addressed this in 31 human pancreata obtained at autopsy from hematopoietic stem cell transplant recipients who had received their transplant from a donor of the opposite sex. RESULTS - Whereas some donor-derived cells were observed in the nonendocrine pancreata, no pancreatic β-cells were identified that were derived from donor hematopoietic stem cells, including two cases with type 2 diabetes. CONCLUSIONS - We conclude that hematopoietic stem cells derived from adult donors contribute minimally to pancreatic β-cells in nondiabetic adult humans. These data do not rule out the possibility that hematopoietic stem cells contribute to pancreatic β-cells in childhood or in individuals with type 1 diabetes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1810-1816
Number of pages7
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2007


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism

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