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Inhibition of p38 MAP Kinase in the Early Posttransplantation Phase Redistributes Blood Vessels From the Surrounding Stroma Into the Transplanted Endocrine Tissue

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Transplanted pancreatic islets attain a chronically decreased vascular density following transplantation, despite the increased concentrations of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) secreted from beta-cells in response to hypoxia during culture and in the immediate posttransplantation phase. VEGF, however, exerts dual effects on endothelial cells, and in islet endothelial cells of the adult, the vascular permeability-inducing effects of VEGF seem normally more pronounced than those to induce angiogenesis. p38 MAP kinase activity has recently been shown to serve as a switch to separate these properties of VEGF; inhibition of p38 MAP kinase activity enhances VEGF-induced angiogenesis and, at the same time, abrogates VEGF-induced vascular permeability. We hypothesized that the revascularization of transplanted islets may be hampered by a predisposition of adult islet endothelial cells to react to VEGF by forming fenestrae rather than migrating and proliferating. We therefore administered the p38 MAP kinase inhibitor SB203580 by daily IP injections for the first 14 days following transplantation, and then studied the influence of this treatment on the oxygen tension, blood perfusion, and vascular density of the islet grafts 1 month posttransplantation. SB203580 treatment redistributed islet graft blood vessels from the stroma into the endocrine tissue, and this redistribution of blood vessels into the endocrine tissue was accompanied by an increased oxygenation of the islet cells. However, the total number of blood vessels in the tissue was not affected. The blood perfusion of the islet grafts was also similar in control and SB203580-treated animals. Our results suggest that effects of VEGF to preferentially induce vascular permeability may partially contribute to, but is not the main cause of, low revascularization of transplanted islets.
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Keywords: Bandeiraea simplicifolia; Blood flow; Engraftment; Oxygen tension

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Medical Cell Biology, Uppsala University, SE-751 23 Uppsala, Sweden 2: Department of Medical Cell Biology, Uppsala University, SE-751 23 Uppsala, Sweden, Department of Medical Sciences, Uppsala University, SE-751 85 Uppsala, Sweden

Publication date: 01 June 2006

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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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