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Open Access Exendin-4 Increases the Expression of Hypoxia-Inducible Factor-1α in Rat Islets and Preserves the Endocrine Cell Volume of Both Free and Macroencapsulated Islet Grafts

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In this study, we evaluated the effects of exendin-4 on free and encapsulated islet grafts in a rodent model. We also investigated the role of a transcription factor, hypoxia-inducible factor-1 (HIF-1), in mediating the beneficial effects of exendin-4. Diabetic athymic mice were transplanted with free rat islets under the kidney capsule or with macroencapsulated rat islets SC with or without exendin-4, islet preculture (exendin-4 0.1 nM for 20 h), and/or recipient treatment (IP 100 ng/day, day 0‐7). The mice were followed for 4 weeks and the graft function and β-cell volume were evaluated. The effects of exendin-4 on islet HIF-1α mRNA and protein expression and on ATP content in a rat insulinoma cell line (INS-1E) were also examined. Preculture with exendin-4 followed by recipient treatment improved the outcome of both free (73% graft function vs. 26% in controls, p = 0.03) and macroencapsulated islet grafts (100% vs. 25% in controls, p = 0.02). In macroencapsulated grafts, the exendin-4-treated group had significantly larger endocrine volume, less graft necrosis, and more blood vessels around the capsule. In rat islets cultured with exendin-4, HIF-1α mRNA and protein expression were significantly enhanced. ATP content was increased in exendin-4-treated INS-1E cells under hypoxic conditions. The improved functional outcome after transplantation of a marginal islet mass with a brief initial treatment with exendin-4 is related to a larger surviving endocrine cell volume. Exendin-4 may improve islet graft resistance to hypoxia during the peritransplant period by increasing the expression of HIF-1α.

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Keywords: Diabetes; Exendin-4; Hypoxia-inducible factor-1α (HIF-1α); Islet transplantation; Macroencapsulation

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: CLINTEC, Division of Transplantation Surgery, Karolinska Institutet, Karolinska University Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden 2: CLINTEC, Division of Renal Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, Karolinska University Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden 3: CLINTEC, Division of Surgery, Karolinska Institutet, Karolinska University Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden

Publication date: 2012-06-01

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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.

    Cell Transplantation is now being published by SAGE. Please visit their website for the most recent issues.

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