One of the promising therapies for Type 1 diabetes involves the transplantation
of insulin producing β-cells, derived from donor cells, or human stem cells in
macro-encapsulated devices. But this treatment hasn’t reached its maximum
potential due to the shortage of donor cells, immune responses of the host, the
(lack of) vascularization at the implant site and the micro-environment of the
implant site. All these factors should contribute to support the survival of the
transplanted cells, but instead a gradual reduction of the number of functional
cells is observed after transplantation.

Previous work by our team has shown that glucocorticoids, next to their wellknown anti-inflammatory effect, also provide a proliferative signal to cultured β-cells [1]. We therefore hypothesize that a local and sustained release of glucocorticoids at the implant site could protect the implanted cells against
inflammation and may as well stimulate their proliferation and survival. We are
currently evaluating the use PLGA microspheres loaded with glucocorticoids for
this purpose. The solvent evaporation method, which yields polydisperse
spheres (1-20μm), is compared to the use of microfluidics to produce
monodisperse spheres (30μm). Our preliminary results compare the release
kinetics of these spheres and show good tolerability, absence of cytotoxicity and
a measurable increase of the number of β-cells within 9 days of culture.

1. Assefa, Z., et al., Direct Effect of Glucocorticoids on Glucose-Activated Adult Rat Beta Cells Increases their Cell Number and their Functional Mass for Transplantation. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab, 2016: p. ajpendo.00070.2016.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2020
Event25th National Symposium for Applied Biological Sciences (NSABS 2020) - Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech, University of Liège, Gembloux, Belgium
Duration: 31 Jan 202031 Jan 2020


Conference25th National Symposium for Applied Biological Sciences (NSABS 2020)
Abbreviated titleNSABS 2020
Internet address


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