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Retrovirally Transferred Genes Inhibit Apoptosis in an Insulin-Secreting Cell Line: Implications for Islet Transplantation

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The transplantation of pancreatic islets for the treatment of type I diabetes is hindered by the enormous loss of cells due to early apoptotic events. Genetic engineering of islets with cytoprotective genes is an important strategy aimed to enhance the survival of these cells in the transplant setting. The present study was designed to evaluate and compare the effects of five genes on a cell line derived from insulin-producing β-cells, NIT-1. Cells were transduced using a Maloney murine leukemia virus (MLV) vector coding for yellow fluorescent protein (YFP) and for one of the following antiapoptotic genes: cFLIP, FADD-DN, BcL-2, PI-9, and ICAM-2. These genes were able to protect NIT-1 cells from cytokine-induced apoptosis to varying degrees ranging from no protection to significant protection equivalent to an optimal dose of a chemical caspase inhibitor. The data demonstrate that cFLIP, FADD-DN, and PI-9 are significantly more effective in protecting NIT-1 cells than BcL-2 and ICAM-2. Additionally, the data show that despite its weak in vitro inhibition of caspase-3, PI-9 affords significant protection against TNF-α-induced apoptosis in these cells. These genes may be ideal candidates to augment islet survival following transplantation.

Keywords: Apoptosis; Gene delivery; Insulinoma cell line; Islet transplantation; NIT-1

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: *Diabetes Research Institute, University of Miami, School of Medicine, Miami, FL 33136 2: †University of California, Berkeley, Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Berkeley, CA 94720-3200

Publication date: January 1, 2004

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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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