Sertoli Cell Transplantation
Sertoli Cells (SC) have been recognized to play an important role at different levels, including regulation of synthesis of androgen binding protein and the paracrine action on peritubular and Leydig cells. In addition, SCs provide an appropriate microenvironment for the development of germ cells, while recent reports have shown that these cells provide nutrients and immune-modulatory and trophic factors that are able to ameliorate survival and development of different cell types and to improve their functional competence.
In Type 1 Diabetes (T1D) murine models, SCs protected co-grafted allogeneic and xenogeneic islets from immune destruction. Hence, SCs might confer the transplanted islets immune-protection, thus representing a possible approach to overcome a major obstacle associated with cell therapy.
Altucell’s team has recently demonstrated that SCs, enveloped in barium alginate-based microcapsules and transplanted in peritoneal cavity of pre-diabetic and diabetic NOD’s, can prevent/or reverse T1D, based on SCs powerful immune-modulatory effects and ß-cell regeneration properties.
Microencapsulated Sertoli cells represent a new approach
to cell and molecular therapy of T1D and other
autoimmune and neurodegenerative diseases.
As transplanted “naked” SCs would be impossible to retrieve, thereby disregarding an important regulatory issue (as per FDA’s guidelines), Altucell has employed its patented technology for fabrication of ultrapure alginate-based microcapsules to envelop pure populations of isolated pre-pubertal pig SCs.