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Comparison of Fetal Porcine Aggregates of Purified β-Cells Versus Islet-Like Cell Clusters as a Treatment of Diabetes

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Fetal pig islet-like cell clusters (ICCs) have the potential to reverse diabetes 1–5 months after transplantation. In a fetal ICC, however, β-cells constitute only 6–8% of the cells, in contrast to 65% in an adult pig islet. Attempts to purify fetal β-cells from cell clusters and compare their function to that of ICCs have not been shown previously. β-Cells were purified from ICCs isolated from the fetal pig pancreas. These were then aggregated and maintained in culture for 3 days. ICCs were isolated from fetal pig pancreas and allowed to round up in culture for 3 days. Transplantation of aggregates and ICCs (10,000 and 12,600, respectively) into diabetic immunoincompetent mice resulted in normoglycemia at 18 ± 2 and 8 ± 1 weeks, respectively (p = 0.0006). Removal of grafts after normalization of blood glucose levels resulted in rapid return of hyperglycemia in both groups. In conclusion, a purified population of immature β-cells can be produced from the fetal pig pancreas. The reason these cells take longer than ICCs to reverse diabetes when transplanted is postulated to be because of the relative lack of precursor cells from which β-cells differentiate. This finding may have implications for stem cell therapy, as other cell types, other than purified β-cells, may be necessary for appropriate function in vivo.

Keywords: Diabetes; Fetal β-cells; Porcine; Purification; Transplantation

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Diabetes Transplant Unit, The Prince of Wales Hospital and The University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW 2031, Australia

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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