Association of expression levels of pluripotency/stem cell markers with the differentiation outcome of Wharton's jelly mesenchymal stem cells into insulin producing cells

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© 2016 Elsevier B.V. and Société Française de Biochimie et Biologie Moléculaire (SFBBM). All rights reserved. Recently, there has been much attention towards generation of insulin producing cells (IPCs) from stem cells, especially from Wharton's jelly mesenchymal stem cells (WJ-MSCs). However, generation of mature IPCs remains a challenge. Assessment of generation of IPCs was usually done by examining β-cell markers, however, assessment of pluripotency/stem cell markers drew less attention. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to investigate the levels of pluripotency/stem cell markers during differentiation of WJ-MSCs into IPCs and the association of these levels with differentiation outcomes. WJ-MSCs were isolated, characterized then induced to differentiate into IPCs using three different protocols namely A, B and C. Differentiated IPCs were assessed by the expression of pluripotency/stem cell markers, together with β-cell markers using qRT-PCR, and functionally by measuring glucose stimulated insulin secretion. Differentiated cells from protocol A showed lowest expression of pluripotency/stem cell markers and relatively best GSIS. However, protocol B showed concomitant expression of pluripotency/stem cell and β-cell markers with relatively less insulin secretion as compared to protocol A. Protocol C failed to generate glucose-responsive IPCs. In conclusion, sustained expression of pluripotency/stem cell markers could be associated with the incomplete differentiation of WJ-MSCs into IPCs. A novel finding for which further investigations are warranted.

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