Intrahepatic islet transplantation provides a potentially more benign alternative to pancreatic transplantation. However, islet transplants are associated with limited engraftment potential. This inefficiency is likely at least partially attributable to the isolation process, which removes islets from their native environment. Isolation not only disrupts the internal vascularization and innervation of islets, but also fundamentally changes interactions between islet cells and macromolecules of the extracellular matrix (ECM). Signaling interactions between islet cells and ECM are known to regulate multiple aspects of islet physiology, including survival, proliferation, and insulin secretion. Although it is highly likely that disruptions to these interactions during isolation significantly affect transplant outcomes, the true implications of these conditions are not well understood. The following article reviews current understandings and uncertainties in islet‐ECM interactions and explains their potential impact on posttransplant engraftment. Topics covered include matrix and receptor compositions in native islets, effects of isolation and culture on islet‐ECM interactions, and potential for postisolation restoration of islet‐ECM interactions. Greater understanding in these areas may help to reduce isolation and transplantation stresses and improve islet engraftment.
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.