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Methods of Human Islet Culture for Transplantation

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The ability to maintain isolated human islet preparations in tissue culture has recently been adopted by most islet transplant centers, and improves the safety as well as the practicality of islet transplantation. Maintaining islet viability and recovery, however, remains challenging in a clinical setting, due to stringent conditions required for culture. Islet culture is further complicated by the fact that islets do not form a monolayer. This review aims to clarify media, supplementation, and conditions that have been shown to be relevant to human islets, as well as to offer avenues of future research. Factors examined that may influence islet survival include base medium, glucose concentration, vitamin, inorganic ion, lipid, hormone, growth factor, amino acid, and binding protein composition and concentration, as well as culture temperature and seeding density. In addition, this article reviews novel techniques, such as coculture and matrices, that have been employed in an attempt to improve islet survival and functional viability.

Keywords: Islet culture; Islet survival; Islet transplantation; Media; Supplementation

Document Type: Review Article


Affiliations: Clinical Islet Transplant Program, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

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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