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The density-dependent purification of islets from several species of mammalian pancreata is improved by prior storage of the dispersed, collagenase-digested pancreas in suitable storage solutions, such as University of Wisconsin (UW) solution. The optimal composition of such solutions, however, is not fully established, although previous investigations have suggested separately that cellular impermeants and colloids are important components. To investigate this issue further, dispersed tissues from 7 porcine and 7 human pancreata were stored in UW or in solutions containing the impermeants lactobionate and raffinose, with either no added colloid or in the presence of the colloids hydroxyethyl starch, dextran 40, dextran 250, or Ficoll 400; hydroxyethyl starch-containing solutions in which the principal cation was sodium, rather than potassium, were also studied. Subsequent purification of islets on continuous linear density gradients of BSA was then assessed by insulin/amylase assay of gradient fractions. Islet purity was slightly reduced using solutions containing impermeants but lacking a colloid, compared with using UW. In the combined presence of impermeants and a colloid, however, islet purity was similar to that obtained with UW, and for porcine pancreata, solutions containing Ficoll 400 or dextran 40 were slightly superior to UW. Purity was not, however, influenced by the sodium to potassium ratio of storage media. In conclusion, impermeants and colloids are both essential components of solutions used to preserve pancreatic tissue before islet purification, findings which may be relevant when designing media for use during other phases of islet isolation, e.g., during collagenase digestion/density gradient purification.


Journal article



Publication Date





99 - 104


Department of Surgery, Leicester Royal Infirmary, UK.


Pancreas, Islets of Langerhans, Animals, Swine, Humans, Potassium, Sodium, Allopurinol, Insulin, Raffinose, Glutathione, Adenosine, Cardioplegic Solutions, Colloids, Organ Preservation Solutions, Cryopreservation, Tissue Preservation, Centrifugation, Density Gradient, Cell Separation, Adult, Middle Aged