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Open Access Quantitative Assessment of Islet Cell Products: Estimating the Accuracy of the Existing Protocol and Accounting for Islet Size Distribution

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The ability to consistently and reliably assess the total number and the size distribution of isolated pancreatic islet cells from a small sample is of crucial relevance for the adequate characterization of islet cell preparations used for research or transplantation purposes. Here, data from a large number of isolations were used to establish a continuous probability density function describing the size distribution of human pancreatic islets. This function was then used to generate a polymeric microsphere mixture with a composition resembling those of isolated islets, which, in turn, was used to quantitatively assess the accuracy, reliability, and operator-dependent variability of the currently utilized manual standard procedure of quantification of islet cell preparation. Furthermore, on the basis of the best fit probability density function, which corresponds to a Weibull distribution, a slightly modified scale of islet equivalent number (IEQ) conversion factors is proposed that incorporates the size distribution of islets and accounts for the decreasing probability of finding larger islets within each size group. Compared to the current calculation method, these factors introduce a 4‐8% downward correction of the total IEQ estimate, but they reflect a statistically more accurate contribution of differently sized islets.

Keywords: Frequency distribution; Islet isolation; Islets of Langerhans; Probability density function; Type 1 diabetes; Weibull distribution

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Diabetes Research Institute, University of Miami Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine, Miami, FL, USA; Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology, University of Miami Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine, Miami, FL, USA.

Publication date: 2009-10-01

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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.
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