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Improvement of Pancreatic Islet Isolation Outcomes Using Glutamine Perfusion During Isolation Procedure

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During procurement, isolation, and transplantation, islets are exposed to high levels of oxidative stress triggering a variety of signaling pathways that can ultimately lead to cell death. Glutamine is an important cellular fuel and an essential precursor for the antioxidant glutathione. The aim of this study was to examine the role of intraductal glutamine administration in facilitating recovery of isolated rat islets from pancreases subjected to a clinically relevant period of warm ischemia. Islets were isolated in Sprague-Dawley (SD) rats (n = 18 per group). Pancreata in groups 1 and 2 were procured immediately while groups 3 and 4 were subjected to 30-min warm ischemia. Groups 2 and 4 were treated intraductally with 5 mM glutamine prior to pancreatectomy. Exposure to 30-min warm ischemia significantly reduced islet yield [groups 1 & 2 (nonischemia): 503 ± 29 islets/rat vs. groups 3 & 4 (ischemia): 247 ± 26 islets/rat; p < 0.05]. Intraductal glutamine treatment significantly improved islet yield when pancreata were subjected to 30-min warm ischemia [144 ± 16 islets/rat without glutamine (group 3) vs. 343 ± 36 islets/rat with glutamine (group 4), p < 0.05]. Glutamine also significantly improved islet viability (values were 50 ± 4% in group 4 vs. 27 ± 3% in group 3, p < 0.05). Similarly, glutathione (reduced) levels were significantly elevated in both glutamine-treated groups; however, this increase was greatest in tissues exposed to ischemia (2.76 ± 0.04 nmol/mg protein in group 4 vs. 1.66 ± 0.04 nmol/mg protein in group 3, p < 0.05). Intraductal glutamine administration considerably improves the islet yield, viability, and augments endogenous glutathione levels in pancreata procured after a clinically relevant period of ischemia. Intraductal administration of glutamine at the time of digestive enzyme delivery into the harvested pancreas may represent a simple yet effective tool to improve islet yields in clinical isolations.

Keywords: Antioxidants; Glutamine; Glutathione; Islet isolation; Oxidative stress

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: *Surgical-Medical Research Institute, University of Alberta, 1074 Dentistry/ Pharmacy Centre, Edmonton, Canada T6G 2N8 2: †Department of Surgery, University of Alberta, 1074 Dentistry/ Pharmacy Centre, Edmonton, Canada T6G 2N8

Publication date: January 1, 2003

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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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