In the context of islet transplantation, experimental models show that induction of islet intrinsic NF-κB-dependent proinflammatory genes can contribute to islet graft rejection. Isolation of human islets triggers activation of the NF-κB and mitogen-activated kinase (MAPK)
stress response pathways. However, the downstream NF-κB target genes induced in human islets during the isolation process are poorly described. Therefore, in this study, using microarray, bioinformatic, and RTqPCR approaches, we determined the pattern of genes expressed by a set of 14
human islet preparations. We found that isolated human islets express a panel of genes reminiscent of cells undergoing a marked NF-κB-dependent proinflammatory response. Expressed genes included matrix metallopeptidase 1 (MMP1) and fibronectin 1 (FN1), factors involved in tissue remodeling,
adhesion, and cell migration; inflammatory cytokines IL-1β and IL-8; genes regulating cell survival including A20 and ATF3; and notably high expression of a set of chemokines that would favor neutrophil and monocyte recruitment including CXCL2, CCL2, CXCL12, CXCL1, CXCL6, and CCL28. Of
note, the inflammatory profile of isolated human islets was maintained after transplantation into RAG-/- recipients. Thus, human islets can provide a reservoir of NF-κB-dependent inflammatory factors that have the potential to contribute to the anti-islet-graft immune response.
To test this hypothesis, we extracted rodent islets under optimal conditions, forced activation of NF-κB, and transplanted them into allogenic recipients. These NF-κB activated islets not only expressed the same chemokine profile observed in human islets but also struggled to maintain
normoglycemia posttransplantation. Further, NF-κB-activated islets were rejected with a faster tempo as compared to non-NF-κB-activated rodent islets. Thus, isolated human islets can make cell autonomous contributions to the ensuing allograft response by elaborating inflammatory
factors that contribute to their own demise. These data highlight the potential importance of islet intrinsic proinflammatory responses as targets for therapeutic intervention.
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.