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The following is a summary of “Thyroid Hormone Levels Correlate With the Maturation of Implanted Pancreatic Endoderm Cells in Patients With Type 1 Diabetes,” published in the February 2024 issue of Endocrinology by Ramzy, et al.

Pancreatic endoderm cells (PECs) encapsulated within macro encapsulation devices have shown promise in reversing diabetes in animal models. Preclinical studies have suggested that thyroid hormones can influence PEC differentiation into insulin-producing cells. However, clinical trials have reported heterogeneous outcomes in patients with type 1 diabetes treated with PECs, with variable graft survival and functionality.

In the study, circulating levels of triiodothyronine and thyroxine were measured in patients enrolled in an ongoing clinical trial at one of seven participating sites. The association between thyroid hormone levels, C-peptide or glucagon levels, and the fate of implanted PECs was investigated.

Both triiodothyronine and thyroxine levels were significantly associated with the proportion of PECs that differentiated into insulin-producing cells with a mature phenotype. Higher thyroid hormone levels were inversely correlated with circulating glucagon levels post-implantation, suggesting a bias towards insulin production over glucagon production in PECs. 

The findings underscore the importance of thyroid hormones in PEC therapy for type 1 diabetes and suggest that adjunct thyroid hormone therapy may enhance cell outcomes in certain PEC recipients. It highlighted a potential avenue for optimizing the efficacy of PEC therapy in clinical settings.


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