Engraftment and Growth of Transplanted Pancreatic Islets
Transplantation of pancreatic islets may provide a cure for type 1 diabetes. How—ever, this treatment can currently be offered only to very few patients. To improve transplantation success we need to understand better the mechanisms of how the implanted islets survive, grow and/or maintain adequate function. We herein report on our studies to evaluate the factors responsible for the engraftment, i.e. revascularization, reinnervation etc., of transplanted islets and relate these factors to the metabolism and growth of the islets. Graft metabolism can be monitored by microdialysis probes that allow for the measurement of minute amounts of islet metabolites and hormonal products. Growth of the endocrine cells can be stimulated both in vitro before implantation and in vivo post-transplantation. Another problem is rejection of transplanted islets, which may be overcome by the microencapsulation of islets. The knowledge gained by the present studies will enable us to elucidate the optimal treatment of islets to ensure a maximal survival of the transplanted islets, and may be applied also to clinical islet transplantation.
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