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Survival and Function of Transplanted Islet Cells on an In Vivo, Vascularized Tissue Engineering Platform in the Rat: A Pilot Study1

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As in vivo tissue engineering of complex tissues and organs progresses, there is a need for an independently vascularized, alterable, and recoverable model. Current models of islet cell transplantation (release into the portal venous system, placement under the renal capsule, and microencapsulation) lack these qualities. We have developed a model of angiogenesis and spontaneous tissue generation in the rat that lends itself as a potential platform for tissue engineering. In this experiment, we examined the effectiveness of such a model in addressing some of the shortcomings of endocrine pancreatic transplantation. An arteriovenous loop was created in the groins of five adult inbred Sprague-Dawley rats, and placed within polycarbonate chambers. Isolated pancreatic islet cell clusters were placed within the chambers, suspended in a matrix of Matrigel®. The chambers were recovered at 3 weeks, and the newly generated tissue was processed for histologic and immunohistochemical analysis. By 3 weeks, spontaneous generation of angiogenesis and collagen matrix and deposition of a collagen matrix was observed. Surviving islet cells were identified by histology and their viability was confirmed via immunohistochemistry for insulin and glucagon. This study demonstrates the ability to maintain viability and functionality of transplanted islet cells on a tissue-engineered platform with an independent vascular supply. The model provides the ability to alter the graft environment via matrix substitution, cellular coculture, and administration of growth factors. The transplanted tissues are recoverable without animal sacrifice and are microsurgically transferable. This model may provide an in vivo culture platform for the study of islet transplantation.

Keywords: In vivo vascularization; Islet transplantation; Tissue engineering

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Bernard O'Brien Institute of Microsurgery and the Department of Surgery, University of Melbourne, St. Vincent's Hospital, Melbourne, Australia, Division of Plastic Surgery, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA 2: Bernard O'Brien Institute of Microsurgery and the Department of Surgery, University of Melbourne, St. Vincent's Hospital, Melbourne, Australia

Publication date: April 1, 2006

More about this publication?
  • 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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