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Pancreatic islets implanted heterotopically (i.e., into the kidney, spleen, or liver) become poorly revascularized following transplantation. We hypothesized that islets implanted into the pancreas would become better revascularized. Islets isolated from transgenic mice expressing enhanced yellow fluorescent protein (EYFP) in all somatic cells were cultured before they were implanted into the pancreas or beneath the renal capsule of athymic mice. Vascular density was evaluated in histological sections 1 month posttransplantation. EYFP was used as reporter for the transgene to identify the transplanted islets. Islet endothelial cells were visualized by staining with the lectin Bandeiraea simplicifolia (BS-1). Capillary numbers in intrapancreatically implanted islets were only slightly lower than those counted in endogenous islets, whereas islets implanted beneath the renal capsule had a markedly lower vascular density. In order to determine if this high graft vascular density at the intrapancreatic site reflected expansion of remnant donor endothelial cells or increased ingrowth of blood vessels from the host, also islets from Tie2-green fluorescent protein (GFP) mice (i.e., islets with fluorescent endothelial cells) were transplanted into the pancreas or beneath the renal capsule of athymic mice. These islet grafts revealed that the new vascular structures formed in the islet grafts contained very few GFP-positive cells, and thus mainly were of recipient origin. The reason(s) for the much better ingrowth of blood vessels at the intrapancreatic site merits further studies, because this may help us form strategies to overcome the barrier for ingrowth of host vessels also into islets in heterotopic implantation sites.
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.