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Isolation of Endodermal Stem Cells from Duodenal Brunner’s Glands

Autologous therapiesCell therapyDiabetesLiverStamina cells


The invention consists in identifying a population of progenitor cells in the glands of the submucosal tunic of the duodenum, Brunner’s glands, which show phenotypic traits of endodermal stem cells, and subsequently isolating them from the human duodenum. These cells can be isolated from an adult’s organ, multiplied in culture and be induced to differentiate into mature cells of the liver and pancreatic lineage.

Technical features

The present patent describes a 4-step methodological procedure that was developed to isolate progenitor cells from the submucosal Brunner’s glands of the human duodenum. This method includes the removal of the mucous membrane in order to eliminate contamination by stem cells located in the intestinal crypts. The progenitor cells of the duodenal submucosal glands can grow in vitro as organoids and maintain a stable phenotype over time. These cells can be induced to differentiate into mature cells such as hepatocytes and pancreatic endocrine cells. Furthermore, in vivo experiments have identified the ability of these cells to repopulate the liver parenchyma when injected into murine liver and to support hepatic regeneration during experimentally induced damage in mice. The duodenal glands can be a source for cell therapy, including autologous therapy.

Possible Applications

  • Heterologous transplant;
  • Autologous transplant;
  • Regenerative medicine in the patient with diabetes mellitus.


  • Multipotent progenitor cells of endodermal origin;
  • Cells capable of differentiating into hepatocytes and β-pancreatic cells;
  • Cells (isolated from duodenum) obtainable from organ donors;
  • It does not require gene reprogramming strategies or major manipulation to differentiate into mature cells of interest.