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Protection of Human Pancreatic Islets Using a Lentiviral Vector Expressing Two Genes: cFLIP and GFP

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Pancreatic islet transplantation can provide insulin independence to diabetic patients. However, apoptosis of islets often leads to early graft failure. Genetic engineering with protective gene(s) can improve the viability of these cells. Here we show successful transduction of human islets with a feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) vector expressing both a cytoprotective (cFLIP) gene and the green fluorescent protein (GFP). Despite using low virus titers to maximize safety, transduced islets expressed both genes, resulting in improved -cell metabolic activity and viability. Although only ∼10% of total islet cells were transduced, the significant viability advantages suggest a “barrier” effect in which protecting the periphery of the islet shields the core. These results provide the first demonstration that a lentiviral vector can express two genes in islets. Furthermore, the engineered islets are resistant to a variety of apoptotic stimuli, suggesting the potential of this approach in enhancing the viability of transplanted cells.
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Keywords: Diabetes; Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV); Gene therapy; Pancreatic islet transplantation; cFLIP

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2008-07-01

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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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