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Prolonged Allogeneic Islet Graft Survival by Protoporphyrins

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Transplantation of islets of Langerhans in patients with type 1 diabetes allows for improved metabolic control and insulin independence. The need for chronic immunosuppression limits this procedure to selected patients with brittle diabetes. Definition of therapeutic strategies allowing permanent engraftment without the need for chronic immunosuppression could overcome such limitations. We tested the effect of the use of protoporphyrins (CoPP and FePP), powerful inducers of the cytoprotective protein heme-oxygenase 1 (HO-1), on allogeneic islet graft survival. Chemically induced diabetic C57BL/6 mice received DBA/2 islets. Treatment consisted in peritransplant administration of CoPP or saline. Islets were either cultured in the presence of FePP or vehicle before implant. Short-course administration of CoPP led to long-term islet allograft survival in a sizable proportion of recipients. Long-term graft-bearing animals rejected third-party islets while accepting a second set donor-specific graft permanently, without additional treatment. Preconditioning of islets with FePP by itself led to improved graft survival in untreated recipients, and provided additional advantage in CoPP-treated recipients, resulting in an increased proportion of long-term surviving grafts. Preconditioning of the graft with protoporphyrins prior to implant resulted in reduction of class II expression. Administration of protoporphyrins to the recipients of allogeneic islets also resulted in transient powerful immunosuppression with reduced lymphocyte proliferative responses, increased proportion of regulatory cells (CD4+CD25+), decreased mononuclear cell infiltrating the graft, paralleled by a systemic upregulation of HO-1 expression. All these mechanisms may have contributed to the induction of donor-specific hyporesponsiveness in a proportion of the protoporphyrin-treated animals.
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Keywords: Allograft survival; Cobalt protoporphyrin (CoPP); Diabetes; Heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1); Iron protoporphyrin (FePP; hemin); Islet transplantation; MHC class II; Tolerance

Document Type: Review Article

Affiliations: Cell Transplant Center, Diabetes Research Institute, University of Miami School of Medicine, 1450 NW 10th Avenue (R-134), Miami, FL 33136

Publication date: 2005-02-01

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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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