The umbilical cord has been proved to be an easy-access, reliable, and useful source of mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) for clinical applications due to its primitive, immunomodulatory, non-immunogenic, secretory and paracrine, migratory, proliferative, and multipotent properties. This set of characteristics has recently attracted great research interest in the fields of nanotechnology and regenerative medicine and cellular therapy. Accumulating evidence supports a pronounced therapeutic potential of MSC in many different pathologies, from hematology to immunology, wound-healing, tissue regeneration, and oncology. Diabetes mellitus, branded the epidemic of the century, is considered a chronic metabolic disorder, representing a major burden for health system sustainability and an important public health challenge to modern societies. The available treatments for type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) still rely mainly on combinations of oral antidiabetic agents with lifestyle and nutritional adjustments. Despite the continuous development of novel and better hypoglycemic drugs, their efficacy is limited in the installment and progression of silent T2DM complications. T2DM comorbidities and mortality rates still make it a serious, common, costly, and long-term manageable disease. Recently, experimental models, preclinical observations, and clinical studies have provided some insights and preliminary promising results using umbilical cord MSCs to treat and manage diabetes. This review focuses on the latest research and applications of human-derived umbilical cord MSC in the treatment and management of T2DM, exploring and systematizing the key effects of both umbilical cord MSC and its factor-rich secretome accordingly with the major complications associated to T2DM.
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