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Adenovirus-Mediated Expression of the Anticoagulant Hirudin in Human Islets: A Tool to Make the Islets Biocompatible to Blood

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Human islets induce an injurious clotting reaction at the time of transplantation. A potential strategy to counteract this reaction would be to allow the islets to express hirudin, a protein with direct anticoagulative activity. Human islets were transduced with an adenoviral vector encoding hirudin, an empty corresponding vector, or left untreated. Islet culture supernatants were analyzed for hirudin using an ELISA, a chromogenic substrate assay based on the thrombin-binding properties of hirudin and in a whole blood viscosimetry assay. Immunohistochemical evaluation and determination of hirudin content revealed an abundant expression of hirudin after transduction. Hirudin content in transduced islets was in the range of the insulin content levels. A delay in human whole blood clotting time could be observed after addition of supernatants taken from islet cultures expressing hirudin. However, transduced islets showed an impaired glucose-stimulated insulin release, but could readily be retrieved 6 weeks after transplantation to athymic mice. A marked expression and secretion of hirudin with functional capacity can be induced in human islets using an adenoviral vector. The impairment in glucose-stimulated insulin release in hirudin-secreting islets, compared to controls, indicates that the additional protein synthesis affects the functional capacity of the islets.

Keywords: Adenoviral vector; Coagulation; Hirudin; Human islets of Langerhans; Transplantation

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Division of Clinical Immunology, The Rudbeck Laboratory, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden

Publication date: August 1, 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.

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