Encapsulation of Islets in Rough Surface, Hydroxymethylated Polysulfone Capillaries Stimulates VEGF Release and Promotes Vascularization After Transplantation

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Abstract:

The transplantation of encapsulated islets of Langerhans is one approach to treat type 1 diabetes without the need of lifelong immunosuppression. Capillaries have been used for macroencapsulation because they have a favorable surface-to-volume ratio and because they can be refilled. It is unclear at present whether the outer surface of such capillaries should be smooth to prevent, or rough to promote, cell adhesions. In this study we tested a new capillary made of modified polysulfone (MWCO: 50 kDa) with a rough, open-porous outer surface for islet transplantation. Compared with free-floating islets, encapsulation of freshly isolated rat islets affected neither the kinetics nor the efficiency of glucose-induced insulin release in perifusion experiments. Free-floating islets maintained insulin secretion during cell culture but encapsulated islets gradually lost their glucose responsiveness and released VEGF. This indicated hypoxia in the capillary lumen. Transplantation of encapsulated rat islets into diabetic rats significantly reduced blood glucose concentrations from the first week of implantation. This hypoglycaemic effect persisted until explantation 4 weeks later. Transplantation of encapsulated porcine islets into diabetic rats reduced blood glucose concentrations depending on the islet purity. With semipurified islets a transient reduction of blood glucose concentrations was observed (2, 8, 18, 18 days) whereas with highly purified islets a sustained normoglycaemia was achieved (more than 28 days). Explanted capillaries containing rat islets were covered with blood vessels. Vascularization was also observed on capillaries containing porcine islets that were explanted from normoglycaemic rats. In contrast, on capillaries containing porcine islets that were explanted from hyperglycemic rats a fibrous capsule and lymphocyte accumulations were observed. No vascularization on the surface of transplanted capillaries was observed in the absence of islets. In conclusion, encapsulated islets can release VEGF, which appears to be an important signal for the vascularization of the capillary material. The rough, open-porous outer surface of the polysulfone capillary provides a site well suited for vascular tissue formation and may allow a prolonged islet function after transplantation.

Keywords: Bioartificial pancreas; Cell transplantation; Macroencapsulation; Modified polysulfone; Porcine islets; Type 1 diabetes

Document Type: Review Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3727/000000005783983232

Affiliations: 1: Department of Pharmacology, Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Auf der Morgenstelle 8, University of Tübingen, 72076 Tübingen, Germany 2: Department of General Surgery, Hoppe-Seyler Straße 3, University of Tübingen, 72076 Tübingen, Germany 3: Institute of Textile and Process Engineering (ITV), Stuttgart-Denkendorf, 73770 Denkendorf, Germany

Publication date: February 1, 2005

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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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