Gestational diabetes: What do stem cells have to say?

2018 edition

Francisco Algaba-Chueca

Gestational Diabetes Mellitus (GDM) is an usually transitory glucose intolerance induced by pregnancy. This kind of “temporary diabetes” may suppose more than 10% of all pregnancies and is widely associated with long-term complications both for the mother and the offspring. Due to its privileged location,¬†the placenta, an organ responsible of¬†¬†fetal nutrition, immunotolerance and metabolic homeostasis,¬†has a key role in all this situation. During GDM, it¬†undergoes a variety of structural and functional changes which can lead to the onset of several disorders.¬†Within the placenta, there are several types of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs):¬†multipotent cells that are able to transform themselves into another cell type. Remarkably, this cells have also a very important function regulating cells of the immune system, reason why they have¬†great potential in regenerative medicine and cell therapy. Nevertheless, their physiological role and how a potential disturbance of their functionality might affect the offspring are poorly understood. We propose that, along with the rest of placental changes. the immune function of placental-derived MSCs could be compromised during GDM. To assess this hypothesis, we have compared the properties of human placental-derived MSCs from GDM patients and healthy pregnant women. Our results¬†highlight that the placenta of GDM individuals contains a dysfunctional population of MSCs, including an impaired capability to infiltrate through tissues and to recruit immune system cells. Overall, their altered profile may contribute to the pathophysiological processes underlying to GDM and have a direct impact on the outcome of the offspring.