Pravastatin, a 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-coenzyme A (HMG-CoA) reductase inhibitor, is known to have suppressive effects on immune and inflammatory cells. We have previously shown in mice and dogs that this agent prevents primary nonfunction of islet iso- and autografts by reducing inflammation at the graft site. The present study was designed to further investigate whether pravastatin has a synergistic effect with cyclosporine (Cs) to prolong islet allograft survival in mice. Unpurified 3000 BALB/c newborn islets were transplanted under the renal capsule of a streptozotocin-diabetic C57BL/6 mouse. Pravastatin and Cs were administered for 10 days starting on the day of grafting (day 0). Five groups were set up based on the treatment protocol: group 1, treatment with 40 mg/kg pravastatin; group 2, 30 mg/kg Cs; group 3, 50 mg/kg Cs; group 4, 40 mg/kg pravastatin and 30 mg/kg Cs; group 5, vehicle alone. Graft survival was indicated by blood glucose levels sustained at <200 mg/dl, and graft rejection by >250 mg/dl for 2 consecutive days. Hyperglycemia persisted in six of the eight (75%) mice and grafts were rejected in 3.6 ± 0.5 days (mean ± SD) in group 5. In group 1, grafts were also rejected in 3.8 ± 0.8 days, but blood glucose was transiently <200 mg/dl in three of the five mice. Despite Cs, grafts were rejected between 7 and 15 days (10.3 ± 2.4 days) in group 2. Among six mice in group 3, one maintained euglycemia for >60 days, the other rejected the graft on day 15, and the remaining four died with functioning grafts between 9 and 13 days due to Cs toxicity. A combination of a low dose of Cs and pravastatin (group 4) prolonged graft survival for >19 days in five of the eight mice, and for 7–13 days in the remaining three mice. Histological examination of the grafts in this group showed significantly reduced local inflammation. Results indicate a synergistic effect of pravastatin and Cs on prevention of islet allograft rejection.
Islet Transplant Program, Department of Surgery, UCLA School of Medicine and Veterans Affairs Medical Center/West Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA
Publication date: January 1, 2001
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