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Transplantation. 2001 Apr 27;71(8):1024-33.

Diabetic rats transplanted with adult porcine islets and immunosuppressed with cyclosporine A, mycophenolate mofetil, and leflunomide remain normoglycemic for up to 100 days.

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  • 1Department of Transplantation Surgery, Karolinska Institute, Huddinge Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden.



Transplantation of adult porcine islets (APIs) offers a possible means of treating diabetes. However, isolating APIs has been notoriously difficult. Furthermore, islet xenograft rejection must be prevented.


APIs were isolated by a modified automated method. API quality was assessed by static glucose stimulation (SGS), by transplantation to diabetic nude mice and by intraperitoneal glucose tolerance tests (IPGTTs). The morphologic characteristics of API xenograft rejection in rats were studied immunohistochemically. Furthermore, APIs were transplanted to diabetic rats that were either left untreated or immunosuppressed with cyclosporine A (CsA), mycophenolate mofetil (MMF) and leflunomide (LEF). B-glucose and porcine C-peptide levels were monitored and grafts were studied morphologically.


Large numbers of APIs were isolated. At SGS, insulin release increased significantly. All nude mice transplanted with APIs were normoglycemic within 24 hr and remained so for up to 1 year. During IPGTTs, B-glucose levels were rapidly regulated to porcine levels. In untreated rats, API xenografts were destroyed within 6 days by a cellular infiltrate consisting mainly of macrophages. In untreated diabetic rats normoglycemia was sustained for 5.5+/-0.3 days. Rats immunosuppressed with CsA+MMF+LEF remained normoglycemic for 59.6+/-11.3 days. In 3 of 11 rats, normoglycemia was sustained for up to 101 days. Porcine C-peptide was detected in serum. At recurrence of hyperglycemia, many mononuclear cells were found close to the xenografts. However, only occasional cells infiltrated the grafts and many APIs were intact.


Well-functioning APIs can be isolated in large numbers. API xenografts can be protected from rejection and can maintain an adequate function for up to 100 days, in rats immunosuppressed with CsA+MMF+LEF.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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