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Cryopreservation of Human Pancreatic Islets From Non-Heart-Beating Donors Using Hydroxyethyl Starch and Dimethyl Sulfoxide as Cryoprotectants

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Although widely used, DMSO is toxic for pancreatic islets. We combined hydroxyethyl starch (HES) with DMSO to simplify the procedure of freezing and thawing, and to decrease the toxicity of DMSO. A preclinical study was performed using islets from beagle dogs. After storage for 4 weeks, the islets were thawed and examined. The islet structure was well maintained after thawing. Although the number of the islets decreased to 71.2 ± 20.1%, the function of the islets was evaluated by static incubation after thawing and showed a 1.80 ± 0.78 stimulation index. We have introduced this technique for the cryopreservation of human islets from non-heart-beating donors. Twelve cases of human islet cryopreservation were performed. The sample tube of each human cryopreservation was thawed to evaluate the morphology, contamination, and endocrine function. Although fragmentation was observed in five samples (41.6%), the other seven (58.4%) showed a normal structure when evaluated by microscopic and electron microscopic study. The stimulation index (SI) of static incubation deteriorated from 3.37 ± 3.02 to 1.34 ± 0.28 after thawing. We divided the thawed islets into two groups: group 1 (n = 8), SI >1.2; group 2 (n = 4), SI <1.2. The group 1 islets showed a higher rate of normal structure (87%) than did group 2 (25%). Moreover, the SI before cryopreservation was 4.01 ± 3.57 in group 1, which was higher than the SI of 2.11 ± 0.72 in group 2. Based on the good results from the preclinical study using a large-animal model, this method was introduced for clinical application. Even from the pancreata of non-heart-beating donors, a successful islet cryopreservation was achieved. However, the isolated islets with poor function should not be cryopreserved for transplantation.
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Keywords: Cryopreservation; Human islets; Hydroxyethyl starch; Islet transplantation

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Surgery, Chiba-East National Hospital, National Hospital Organization, Chiba, Japan, Clinical Research Center, Chiba-East National Hospital, National Hospital Organization, Chiba, Japan 2: Department of Surgical Oncology, Chiba Cancer Center, Chiba, Japan 3: Department of Surgery, Chiba-East National Hospital, National Hospital Organization, Chiba, Japan 4: Clinical Research Center, Chiba-East National Hospital, National Hospital Organization, Chiba, Japan

Publication date: 01 January 2008

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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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