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Mitochondrial Transfer from MSCs to Islet β-cells

Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have direct effects on islet β‐cells that improve their insulin secretory function, and studies have highlighted the essential nature of the generation of ATP and other metabolic coupling factors by mitochondrial metabolism for nutrient‐induced insulin secretion. Additionally, impaired mitochondrial function, and thus reduced oxygen consumption rate, results in defective insulin secretion and reduced islet β‐cell survival. Writing in a STEM CELLS article, researchers led by Chloe L Rackham (King's College London, UK) report, for the first time, that human MSCs transfer their mitochondria to cocultured human islet β‐cells. The findings of this fascinating new study suggest that the mitochondrial donation capacity of MSCs should be harnessed to ensure the functional longevity of transplanted human islets in clinical protocols.