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Cells passed from mother to child during pregnancy live on and make insulin

y also found significantly higher levels of maternal DNA in the peripheral blood of 94 children and adults with Type 1 diabetes as compared to 54 unaffected siblings and 24 unrelated healthy subjects they studied.

Originally, the study of 172 individuals and pancreatic tissue from four males was designed to ask the question whether small numbers of maternal cells might be involved in any way in Type 1 diabetes. "Our initial theory was that perhaps, in some situations, too many cells cross from mother to fetus in pregnancy. Could diabetes result because the child lost tolerance to those cells because they are genetically half foreign? Our research appears to disprove this," said Professor Gale. "It is possible that the maternal cells may even be helping to regenerate damaged tissue in the pancreas."

The investigators are excited about the observation that maternal microchimerism results in cells that make insulin - these maternal stem cells could provide new insights into how insulin producing beta cells are generated.


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Contact: Joanne Fryer
joanne.fryer@bristol.ac.uk
44-117-331-7276
University of Bristol
22-Jan-2007


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