Implantation-Site Dependent Differences in Engraftment and Function of Transplanted Pancreatic Islets
Sammanfattning: Transplanting pancreatic islets into the liver through the portal vein is currently the most common procedure in clinical islet transplantations for treating patients with brittle type 1 diabetes. However, most islet grafts fail within a 5-year period necessitating retransplantation. The vascular connections are disrupted at islet isolation and implanted islets depend on diffusion of oxygen and nutrients in the immediate posttransplantation period. Rapid and efficient revascularization is of utmost importance for the survival and long-term function of transplanted islets. In this thesis, the influence of the implantation microenvironment for islet engraftment and function was studied. Islets were transplanted into the liver, the renal subcapsular site or the pancreas. Islets implanted into the liver contained fewer glucagon-positive cells than islets implanted to the kidney and endogenous islets. Intraportally transplanted islets responded with insulin and glucagon release to secretagogues, but only when stimulated through the hepatic artery. Thus, the intrahepatic grafts were selectively revascularized from the hepatic artery. The vascular density in human islets transplanted into the liver of athymic mice was markedly lower when compared to human islets grafted to the kidney. Islets implanted into their physiological environment, the pancreas, were markedly better revascularized. Insulin content, glucose-stimulated insulin release, (pro)insulin biosynthesis and glucose oxidation rate were markedly decreased in transplanted islets retrieved from the liver, both when compared to endogenous and transplanted islets retrieved from the pancreas. Only minor changes in metabolic functions were observed in islets implanted into the pancreas when compared to endogenous islets. The present findings demonstrate that the microenvironment has a major impact on the engraftment of transplanted islets. Elucidating the beneficial factors that promote engraftment would improve the survival and long-term function of transplanted islets. Ultimately, islet transplantation may be provided to an increased number of patients with type 1 diabetes.
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