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Response of Encapsulated Rat Pancreatic Islets to Hypoxia

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Hypoxia contributes to encapsulated pancreatic islet graft failure. To gain insight into the mechanisms that lead to hypoxia-induced graft failure, encapsulated islet function, vitality, and cell replication were assessed after 2 and 5 days of hypoxic (1% O2) and normoxic (20% O2) culture. The mRNA expression levels of Bcl-2, Bax, inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS), and monocyte chemoattractant protein 1 (MCP-1) were assessed, as well as the amount of nitrite and MCP-1 in the culture medium. Hypoxia was associated with loss of encapsulated islet function and vitality, but not with an increase in islet cell replication. Loss of vitality was due to necrosis, and only modestly due to apoptosis. Hypoxia was not associated with changes in the Bcl-2/Bax mRNA ratio, but it did increase the expression of iNOS and MCP-1 mRNA. The increased mRNA levels were, however, not associated with elevated concentrations of nitrite nor with elevated levels of MCP-1 protein. The increased iNOS mRNA levels imply a role for NO in the completion of cell death by hypoxia. The increased MCP-1 mRNA levels suggest that encapsulated islets in vivo contribute to their own graft failure by attracting cytokine-producing macrophages. The discrepancy between iNOS mRNA and nitrite is explained by the longer half-life of NO during hypoxia. MCP-1 protein levels are underestimated as a consequence of the lower number of vital cells in combination with a higher proteolytic activity due to necrosis. Thus, strategies to eliminate hypoxia may not only improve islet function and vitality, but may also reduce the attraction of macrophages by encapsulated islets.
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Keywords: Cell death; Encapsulation; Hypoxia; Islets of Langerhans; Monocyte chemoattractant protein 1 (MCP-1); Replication

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Surgical Research Laboratory, Department of Surgery, Groningen University Hospital, Groningen, The Netherlands

Publication date: 2003-01-01

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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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