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Open Access A Model to Evaluate Toxic Factors Influencing Islets During Collagenase Digestion: The Role of Serine Protease Inhibitor in the Protection of Islets

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The recovery of all of the islets contained in a pancreas is the goal of islet isolation for transplantation. This study reveals an environment that injures the isolated islets during digestion and proposes a new model for optimal islet isolation. Islets were isolated from Wistar rat pancreases by stationary collagenase digestion while the digestion time was varied at 15, 30, 60, and 120 min. The digested pancreas and islets were analyzed histologically and adenosine nucleotides were measured. Overnight cultured islets (40 islets) were cocultured for 30 min with the supernatants obtained from pancreatic collagenase digestion at different digestion periods in order to assess the toxic environment. The peak yields of islets were obtained at 30 min of digestion. The histological study of digested pancreas showed that the exocrine cells lost their cellular integrity at 120 min of digestion, but the islet cells were left intact. Accordingly, the ATP levels of the pancreatic tissue decreased during the digestion period. The coculture experiment demonstrated that the islets cultured with the supernatants from the collagenase digestion showed digestion time-dependent disruption of the cellular integrity of islets in accordance with a rapid decrease of ATP levels in the islets. The addition of serine protease inhibitors into this coculture clearly showed protection of islets, which maintained high ATP levels in association with intact membrane integrity as assessed by AO/PI staining. Morphological deterioration of islets as well as a marked ATP decrease was evident in the entire digested pancreas as well as in islets cocultured in the supernatants from the collagenase digestion. Various factors toxic to the islets can therefore be analyzed in future experiments using this coculture model for obtaining a good yield of viable islets.

Keywords: Adenosine triphosphate (ATP); Collagenase digestion; Islet isolation; Pefabloc; Trypsin; Ulinastatin

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Surgery, Fukushima Medical University, Fukushima City, Fukushima, Japan

Publication date: February 1, 2012

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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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