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Role of Pancreatic Polypeptide as a Market of Transplanted Insulin-Producing Fetal Pig Cells

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Transplantation of insulin-producing fetal pancreatic tissue into diabetic recipients has been shown to normalize blood glucose levels after several months. This time period is required for the growth and maturation of the fetal tissue so insulin levels cannot be used as a marker of graft function while the β-cell is immature. Therefore, we have examined the use of another pancreatic endocrine hormone, pancreatic polypeptide (PP), to monitor graft function. The cell that produces this hormone has been shown to be the first mature endocrine cell in the fetal pancreas. Fetal pig pancreatic tissue, both in the form of 1 mm3 explants and islet-like cell clusters (ICCs), was transplanted into immunodeficient SCID mice and the levels of PP and insulin were measured in plasma and in the graft for up to 12 weeks. PP was detected in the untransplanted explants (0.58 pmol/mg) and ICCs (0.06 pmol/ICC) and the PP to insulin ratio was 2.7% and 5.8%, respectively. PP (but not porcine C-peptide, a marker of insulin secretion) was detectable in the plasma of SCID mice from 4 days to 3 weeks after transplantation, but not thereafter. The highest values were obtained at 4 days to 1 week. In the grafted tissue PP and insulin were present at all time points and the ratio of PP to insulin was 59%, 87%, 75%, 56%, 7%, 8%, and 7% at 4 days, 1, 2, 3, 6, 9, and 12 weeks, respectively. The decline in PP levels 3 weeks after transplantation was associated with β-cell development in the graft. PP was also secreted by fetal pig pancreatic explants transplanted into diabetic NOD/SCID mice, with plasma levels measurable in the first week after the tissue was grafted. In immunocompetent BALB/c mice transplanted with the tissue, PP was detectable in plasma for 2 days after transplantation but not at 4 days, when cellular rejection commenced, or thereafter. We conclude that plasma PP levels can be used as a marker of the viability of fetal porcine pancreatic tissue in the first 3 weeks after it is transplanted into mice. These findings may have relevance to fetal pancreatic tissue transplanted into humans if suitable techniques can be developed to separate pig from human PP.

Keywords: Fetal pig pancr; Key words: Pancreatic polypeptide

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Pancreas Transplant Unit, The Prince of Wales Hospital, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Publication date: 2001-03-01

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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.
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