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Open Access Immune Cell Populations in Nonhuman Primate Islets

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Islet transplantation is a promising cellular therapy for the treatment of type 1 diabetes (T1D). The immunogenicity of isolated islets has been of interest to the transplant community for many years, as upon transplantation, islets are damaged or destroyed through specific and nonspecific inflammatory and immune events. Antigen presenting cells (APC) are crucial intermediates in the generation of both innate and specific immune responses, and it has long been understood that some APC are resident in islets in situ, as well as after isolation. Our aim was to identify and characterize intraislet resident populations of APC and other immune cells in islets from nonhuman primates (Macaca fascicularis) in situ (pancreas biopsies obtained prerecovery) and after isolation using immunohistochemistry, confocal microscopy, and flow cytometry. The numbers of cells obtained in situ are similar to those in islets postisolation. Each isolated islet equivalent contains an average of 21.8 immune cells, 14.7 (67%) of which are APC. Many of these APC are dentritic cells and, surprisingly, 50% are B lymphocytes. The number of islet-resident immune cells increases with islet size, with greater numbers in large versus small islets (p < 0.001). The APC were localized around the exterior or spread evenly throughout the islets, with no definitive orientation identified. This knowledge will be useful to develop tailored modulation strategies to decrease immunogenicity, enhance engraftment, and ultimately prevent islet rejection.

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Keywords: Antigen presenting cells in islets; Dendritic cells in islets; Islet cell composition; Islet transplantation; Lymphocytes in islets; Passenger leukocytes in islets

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Diabetes Research Institute, Miller School of Medicine, University of Miami, Miami, FL, USA; Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Miller School of Medicine, University of Miami, Miami, FL, USA

Publication date: 01 October 2009

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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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