Open Access Isolation, Transplantation, and Functional Studies of Adult Porcine Islets of Langerhans

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Transplantation of islets of Langerhans is a possible treatment for type-I diabetes mellitus. However, there is a shortage of donors for such transplantations and the pig may be an alternative source of donor organs. The aims of the study reported here were to establish a method for adult porcine islet isolation that was based on enzymatic digestion using Liberase PI in a semiautomatic set-up, and to evaluate the in vitro and in vivo function of isolated islets. After overnight culture, isolated islets, from five of seven batches, had poor insulin response to an in vitro glucose challenge that was only partially increased by additional challenge with arginine. More than 50% of DNA and 90% of the insulin content was lost during a one-week culture period. With some batch-to-batch variation, in 15 of 25 cases, 4,000 to 7,000 porcine islets cured streptozotocin diabetic nude mice within three weeks following transplantation.

In conclusion, it is possible to isolate viable islets from adult pigs, using a semiautomatic set-up. With batch-to-batch variation, the islets are able to revert diabetes mellitus when transplanted to diabetic nude mice.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Medical Endocrinology/Biomedical Laboratory, Odense University Hospital, Sdr. Boulevard 29, DK-5000 Odense, Denmark

Publication date: April 1, 2002

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  • Comparative Medicine (CM), an international journal of comparative and experimental medicine, is the leading English-language publication in the field and is ranked by the Science Citation Index in the upper third of all scientific journals. The mission of CM is to disseminate high-quality, peer-reviewed information that expands biomedical knowledge and promotes human and animal health through the study of laboratory animal disease, animal models of disease, and basic biologic mechanisms related to disease in people and animals.

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