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Open Access The TheraCyte Device Protects Against Islet Allograft Rejection in Immunized Hosts

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Clinically, many candidates for islet transplantation are already immunized, which increases their risk of graft rejection. Encapsulation of pancreatic islets using the TheraCyte device has been shown to protect against allograft rejection in nonimmunized recipients. However, the capacity of the TheraCyte device to prevent rejection in immunized recipients has not yet been studied. In this study, the protective capacity of the TheraCyte device was evaluated in an allogeneic rat model. Lewis rats were used as islet donors, and nonimmunized (control) and alloimmunized, diabetic Wistar‐Furth (WF) rats were used as recipients. Graft survival was shorter in immunized recipients than in nonimmunized recipients (mean survival, 5.3 ± 2.7 and 9.3 ± 1.6 days, respectively, p < 0.01) when nonencapsulated islets were transplanted under the kidney capsule. When islets were transplanted into the TheraCyte device, graft function was maintained during the 6-month study period in both immunized and nonimmunized rats. In oral glucose tolerance tests performed at 1 month after transplantation, both groups had similar insulin and blood glucose levels indicating similar metabolic functions. Volume densities and absolute volumes of tissue inside the devices 6 months after transplantation were also comparable between the two groups, indicating that both groups maintained similar amounts of endocrine tissue. A higher number of IFN-γ-producing CD8+ T-cells were detected in immunized WF rats compared to control WF rats transplanted with encapsulated islets. This suggests that donor-specific alloreactivity in recipient rats was sustained throughout the study period. This study suggests that the TheraCyte device protects islet allografts also in immunized recipients. Our results further highlight the potential for using macroencapsulation to avoid immunosuppressive therapy in clinical islet transplantation.

Keywords: Alloantibodies; ELISpot; IFN-γ; Immunized recipients; Islet transplantation; Macroencapsulation; TheraCyte™; device

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Division of Transplantation Surgery, CLINTEC, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden

Publication date: 2013-07-15

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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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