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Open Access Hypoxia-Inducible Factor-1α (HIF-1α) Potentiates β-Cell Survival After Islet Transplantation of Human and Mouse Islets

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A high proportion of β-cells die within days of islet transplantation. Reports suggest that induction of hypoxia-inducible factor-1α (HIF-1α) predicts adverse transplant outcomes. We hypothesized that this was a compensatory response and that HIF-1α protects β-cells during transplantation. Transplants were performed using human islets or murine β-cell-specific HIF-1α-null (β-HIF-1α-null) islets with or without treatment with deferoxamine (DFO) to increase HIF-1α. β-HIF-1α-null transplants had poor outcomes, demonstrating that lack of HIF-1α impaired transplant efficiency. Increasing HIF-1α improved outcomes for mouse and human islets. No effect was seen in β-HIF-1α-null islets. The mechanism was decreased apoptosis, resulting in increased β-cell mass posttransplantation. These findings show that HIF-1α is a protective factor and is required for successful islet transplant outcomes. Iron chelation with DFO markedly improved transplant success in a HIF-1α-dependent manner, thus demonstrating the mechanism of action. DFO, approved for human use, may have a therapeutic role in the setting of human islet transplantation.

Keywords: (HIF-1α); Deferoxamine (DFO); Diabetes; Hypoxia; Hypoxia-inducible factor-1α; Islet transplantation; β-Cell function

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Diabetes and Transcription Factors Group, Garvan Institute of Medical Research (GIMR), Sydney, Australia

Publication date: 2013-02-01

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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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