The long-term outcome of human islet allotransplantation is poor, and it remains to be seen if the Edmonton Protocol will make a positive impact upon the extension of posttransplant islet function. Hence, establishing an implantation site capable of sustaining islet allografts for a prolonged duration needs to be explored. In this study we investigated the submucosal space of the duodenum in Syrian golden hamsters. Following transplantation of more than 800 islets into streptozotocin (STZ)-induced diabetic hamsters, basal nonfasted blood glucose levels decreased from 403 ± 14 to 143 ± 10 mg/dl within 5 weeks posttransplantation. In these animals, in vivo islet function, as determined by intravenous glucose tolerance test (IVGTT), was similar to nondiabetic controls (K values: 1.16 ± 0.12 vs. 0.95 ± 0.06, respectively) and was significantly greater than diabetic controls (K value: 0.47 ± 0.07). Islets transplanted into the submucosal space become richly vascularized within 2 weeks, and there is minimal host inflammatory infiltrate. The β-cells of the graft remain well granulated with insulin for at least 129 days. We conclude that the submucosal space is an effective engraftment site for islets that warrants further development in a large-animal model.
Department of Surgery, McGill University and The Montreal General Hospital, Montreal, Quebec H3G 1A4, Canada
Publication date: January 1, 2002
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