Standardization of Islet Isolation and Transplantation Variables

University dissertation from Uppsala : Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis

Abstract: Currently, the transplantation of islets of Langerhans is a viable means to maintain control of blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of hypoglycemia in defined populations with brittle type I diabetes mellitus or those requiring pancreatectomy. However, the process of islet isolation is highly variable and not all isolations result in islet numbers or quality suitable for transplantation.This thesis aimed to improve transplantation success through optimization and standardization of the isolation process and to identify pretransplant variables associated with early islet engraftment.A previously disregarded enzyme activity, tryptic-like activity (TLA), has been identified to influence pancreas digestion efficiency and islet isolation success in both the preclinical and clinical situations. For human pancreases, islet isolation success rates improved from 0% in the lowest TLA group to over 50% in the highest TLA groups without affecting islet quality. These findings should help standardize evaluation of enzymes for clinical islet isolation.A closed, automated, pump-made gradient system was compared to the open, manual method for islet separation. No differences were observed in expected gradient volumes, islet yields or total purities between the two methods. The pump-made gradient system successfully removed manual influences on density gradient production while fulfilling regulatory requirements for closed system processing.Islet quantification was evaluated with computer-assisted digital imaging analysis (DIA) and a semi-closed assessment system. By using the DIA system method, which measures islet purity and pellet volume instead of manual counting methods, variation in islet counts and purity reduced by almost half.By using a transplant outcome measurement of C-peptide adjusted by blood glucose and creatinine, we identified four pretransplant factors that affect early transplant outcome. Of the four factors, one was related to the organ transport time, one to function of the islets, and two to the transplanted tissue volume. When these four factors were put into a predictive model, it accounted for about 40% of the transplant outcome.The work contained in this thesis identifies and optimizes a number of critical elements related to islet isolation and transplantation protocols. 

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