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The impact of ischaemia can severely damage procured donor organs for transplantation. The pancreas, and pancreatic islets in particular, is one of the most sensitive tissues towards hypoxia. The present study was aimed to assess the effect of hypoxic preconditioning (HP) performed ex-vivo in islets isolated from heart-beating donor (HBD) and non heart-beating donor (NHBD) rats. After HP purified islets were cultured for 24 h in hypoxia followed by islet characterisation. Post-culture islet yields were significantly lower in sham-treated NHBD than in HBD. This difference was reduced when NHBD islets were preconditioned. Similar results were observed regarding viability, apoptosis and in vitro function. Reactive oxygen species generation after hypoxic culture was significantly enhanced in sham-treated NHBD than in HBD islets. Again, this difference could be diminished through HP. qRT-PCR revealed that HP decreases pro-apoptotic genes but increases HIF-1 and VEGF. However, the extent of reduction and augmentation was always substantially higher in preconditioned NHBD than in HBD islets. Our findings indicate a lower benefit of HBD islets from HP than NHBD islets. The ischaemic preconditioning paradox suggests that HP should be primarily applied to islets from marginal donors. This observation needs evaluation in human islets.

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Journal article


Sci Rep

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Animals, Humans, Rats, Hypoxia, Ischemic Preconditioning, Islets of Langerhans, Tissue Donors