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Coculture Model of Intrahepatic Islet Transplantation: Activation of Kupffer Cells by Islets and Acinar Tissue

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Clinical and experimental studies of intrahepatic islet transplantation have allowed histological and systemic observations to be made, but the location of the transplanted islets makes it difficult to assess direct effects on the cells of the liver. An in vitro coculture model of Kupffer cells with islets or pancreatic acinar tissue is described, using porcine tissue and measuring the secretion of thromboxane B2, prostaglandin E2, 6-keto-prostaglandin F, and prostaglandin F as an indicator of Kupffer cell stimulation. The results have demonstrated activation of Kupffer cells in the presence of acinar or islet tissue, both when the cells were in direct contact and when separated by a membrane. This indicated that the stimulation was due to a soluble factor or factors, and was confirmed by the culture of Kupffer cells with acinar conditioned medium. The degree of stimulation was much greater with acinar tissue than with islets. In subsequent experiments, aprotinin, an enzyme activation inhibitor, was added to the cocultures in an attempt to reduce Kupffer cell activation. This had no effect, possibly due to the fact that the endogenous pancreatic enzymes may already be activated during digestion of the pancreas. Aprotinin alone caused an increase in secretion of eicosanoids from Kupffer cells. The high response to acinar tissue is of particular relevance to islet autotransplantation in which unpurified pancreatic digest is often transplanted. The clinical effectiveness of aprotinin in the light of these results is discussed. In conclusion, although unable to mimic the complex situation following intrahepatic islet transplantation, the coculture model described here allows the opportunity to assess the events relating to specific cell types, and will provide the scope to undertake more detailed studies on the mechanisms involved. The same model could be applied to the coculture of pancreatic tissue with hepatocytes to determine any effects on the normal function of hepatocytes.
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Keywords: Islet autotransplantatio; Key words: Kupffer cells

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: *Department of General Surgery, Leicester General Hospital, Leicester, LE5 4PW, UK 2: †Department of Surgery, University of Leicester, Leicester Royal Infirmary, Leicester, LE2 7LX, UK

Publication date: 01 February 2001

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  • Cell Transplantation publishes original, peer-reviewed research and review articles on the subject of cell transplantation and its application to human diseases. To ensure high-quality contributions from all areas of transplantation, separate section editors and editorial boards have been established. Articles deal with a wide range of topics including physiological, medical, preclinical, tissue engineering, and device-oriented aspects of transplantation of nervous system, endocrine, growth factor-secreting, bone marrow, epithelial, endothelial, and genetically engineered cells, among others. Basic clinical studies and immunological research papers are also featured. To provide complete coverage of this revolutionary field, Cell Transplantation will report on relevant technological advances, and ethical and regulatory considerations of cell transplants. Cell Transplantation is now an Open Access journal starting with volume 18 in 2009, and therefore there will be an inexpensive publication charge, which is dependent on the number of pages, in addition to the charge for color figures. This will allow work to be disseminated to a wider audience and also entitle the corresponding author to a free PDF, as well as prepublication of an unedited version of the manuscript.

    Cell Transplantation is now being published by SAGE. Please visit their website for the most recent issues.

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