Stem-cell therapy, which has recently emerged as a potentially therapeutic option for diabetes, is demonstrated to significantly alter both cellular and non-cellular elements of the immune system. In addition, it is demonstrated that allogenic stem-cells, once considered immune-privileged, can be rejected by the host immune system almost similar to any other somatic cell. To date, nonetheless, details of these intricate interactions remain obscure. The current study is designed to illuminate both aforementioned favorable and unfavorable stem cell-mediated immune reactions. Findings of this study may shed some light on how stem cells may exert their therapeutic effect in type 1 diabetes through immune system-mediated mechanisms and illuminate the partially-obscure immune-caused rejection of these cells.
Methods and analysis
For the purpose of this study, frozen whole blood samples obtained from patients with type 1 diabetes who received stem cells at the Endocrinology and Metabolism Research Institute of Tehran University of Medical Sciences in two different clinical trials will be thawed and analyzed. These clinical trials were carried out using two different sources of stem cells, namely allogenic fetal and autologous mesenchymal cells. The samples we aim to analyze were obtained from the patients before the procedure and regularly after it, one, three, six, 12, and 24 months later. For the purpose of this study, the following parameters will be measured: C-peptide levels, IDAA1c (a surrogate marker of beta cell function which is calculated as HbA1c (%) + [4 × insulin dose (units per kilogram per day)]), frequencies of islet-specific autoreactive CD8+ T cells (CTL), different lymphocyte subsets, thymic function indicators, T cell repertoire diversity (including Treg/Tconv ratios), plasma levels of several pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines, diabetes autoantibodies, and HLA typing.
Ethics and dissemination
The stem cell transplantation clinical trials which provided the primary source of our samples were carried out at the Endocrinology and Metabolism Research Institute of Tehran University of Medical Sciences between 2008 and 2012. These series of clinical trials have secured approval of the ethics committee of Tehran University of Medical Sciences (ethical code number: E-0089) and registered on the national clinical trial registry of Islamic Republic of Iran (IRCT) with the identifier codes: IRCT138810271414N8 (for autologous mesenchymal cells) and IRCT201103171414N23 (for allogenic fetal cells). Our findings are to be presented at international scientific events, published in peer-reviewed journals, and disseminated both electronically and in print. Besides, results of the current study will be used for design and implementation of future laboratory investigations and clinical trials at the Endocrinology and Metabolism Research Institute of Tehran University of Medical Sciences.
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This study was funded by the National Instititute for Medical Research Development, NIMAD.
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Tootee, A., Nikbin, B., Ghahary, A. et al. Assessment of immune-alternations and their correlations with therapeutic outcomes of transplantation of autologous Mesenchymal and Allogenic fetal stem cells in patients with type 1 diabetes: a study protocol. J Diabetes Metab Disord (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40200-020-00716-9
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