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Culture of human pancreatic islets is now routinely carried out prior to clinical islet allotransplantation, using conditions that have been developed empirically. One of the major causes of early islet destruction after transplantation is the process termed instant blood-mediated inflammatory reaction (IBMIR). The aim of this study was to develop in vitro methods to investigate IBMIR and apply them to the culture conditions used routinely in our human islet isolation laboratory. Freshly isolated or precultured (24 h, 48 h) human islets were incubated in either ABO-compatible allogeneic human blood or Hank's buffered salt solution (HBSS) for 1 h at 37°C. Tissue factor (TF) expression and leukocyte migration were assessed by light microscopy. TF was also quantified by ELISA. To assess β-cell function, glucose-stimulated insulin secretion (GSIS) assay was carried out. The extent of islet β-cell damage was quantified using a proinsulin assay. Islets cultured for 24 h had higher GSIS when compared to freshly isolated or 48-h precultured islets. Freshly isolated islets had significantly higher TF content than 24-h and 48-h precultured islets. Incubation of freshly isolated human islets in allogeneic human blood released 6.5-fold higher level of proinsulin in comparison to freshly isolated human islets in HBSS. The high level of proinsulin released was significantly attenuated when precultured islets (24 h or 48 h) were exposed to fresh blood. Histological examination of fresh islets in blood clot showed that some islets were fragmented, showing signs of extraislet insulin leakage and extensive neutrophil infiltration and necrosis. These features were markedly reduced when the islets were cultured for 24 h. These results suggest that our standard 24-h islet culture is markedly beneficial in attenuating IBMIR, as evidenced by increased GSIS, lower content of TF, decrease islet fragmentation, and proinsulin release.

Original publication




Journal article


Cell Transplant

Publication Date





2505 - 2512


Adult, Cell Movement, Cells, Cultured, Female, Humans, Inflammation, Insulin-Secreting Cells, Islets of Langerhans Transplantation, Leukocytes, Male, Middle Aged, Necrosis, Neutrophil Infiltration, Neutrophils, Organ Culture Techniques, Proinsulin, Thromboplastin