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Factors Influencing Functional Survival of Microencapsulated Islet Grafts

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Graft function of encapsulated islets is restricted in spite of the fact that inflammatory responses against capsules are limited to a portion less than 10%. It has been shown that dysfunction is accompanied by a gradual decrease in the glucose-induced insulin response (GIIR), a hyperproliferation of islet cells, and gradual necrosis. Also, limited survival is associated with the presence of macrophages in the overgrowth. In the present study, we investigate whether macrophages are the inducers of dysfunction of encapsulated grafts. Four weeks after successful transplantation of microencapsulated rat allografts we determined the GIIR, the rate of islet cell replication, and islet cell death. Also, we quantified the number of macrophages on the overgrown capsules. This assessment was applied to set up an in vitro coculture system of macrophages and encapsulated islets. We retrieved 93 ± 6.2% of the capsules of which 9.2 ± 0.3% was overgrown. The GIIR of the retrieved nonovergrown islets was reduced when compared with freshly encapsulated islets. The replication rate of the retrieved islet cells was eightfold higher than in the normal pancreas. Apoptosis was rarely observed but 37 ± 4% of the total islet surface was composed of necrosis. We found a mean of 1542 ± 217 macrophages per capsule. Coculture of 1500 NR8383 macrophages per encapsulated islets induced a substantial reduction in GIIR but a decrease instead of increase in replication. Necrosis was restricted to 13 ± 1.3% of the islet cells and was not increased by the presence of macrophages. Our observations indicate that we should focus on reduction of macrophage activation and on improving the nutrition of encapsulated islets to prevent islet cell death.
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Keywords: Alginate; Encapsulation; Immunoisolation; Islets; Macrophages; Poly-l-lysine

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Transplantation Biology and Immunoendocrinology, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Section of Medical Biology, University of Groningen, Hanzeplein 1, 9700 RB Groningen, The Netherlands

Publication date: 01 January 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.

    Cell Transplantation is now being published by SAGE. Please visit their website for the most recent issues.

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