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Hepatobiliary Pancreat Dis Int. 2005 Nov;4(4):524-9.

Effect of small intestinal submucosa on islet recovery and function in vitro culture.

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  • 1Department of Renal Transplantation, First Affiliated Hospital, College of Medicine, Xi'an Jiaotong University, Xi'an 710061, China.



The ability to maintain isolated human islet preparation in tissue culture has recently been adopted by most islet transplant centers to improve the safety and practicality of islet transplantation. However, maintaining islet viability and recovery remains a challenge in clinical setting. Extracellular matrix (ECM) is one of the most important components of islet microenvironment. The reconstruction of the cell-matrix relationship seems to be effective in improving the loss of differentiated islet structure and function. Small intestinal submucosa (SIS), a naturally occurring ECM, has been investigated to be able to promote wound healing, tissue remodeling, and cell growth. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the recovery and function of isolated rat pancreatic islets after in vitro culture with SIS.


Pancreatic islets were isolated from Wistar rats by using standard surgical procurement followed by intraductal collagenase distension, mechanical dissociation, and EuroFicoll purification. Groups of purified islets were cultured in plates which were coated with multilayer SIS (SIS-treated group) or without (standard cultured group) for 7 days and 14 days in standard islet culture conditions of RPMI 1640 tissue culture media in humidified atmosphere containing 95% air and 5% CO2 at 37 degree centigrade. The mean recovery of islets after the culture period was determined by sizing duplicate counts of a known volume and their viability was assessed by static incubation with low glucose (2.7 mmol), high glucose (16.7 mmol) and high glucose solution supplemented with 50 mum 3-isobutyl-1-methylxanthine (IBMX) solution.


After 7 days and 14 days of in vitro tissue culture, the SIS-treated group showed a significantly higher recovery compared with those cultured under standard conditions. The recovery in the SIS-treated group was about two times of the control group cultured in standard conditions after 14 days culture. In the SIS-treated group, there was no statistically difference between the short and long periods of culture(95.8+/-1.0% vs. 90.8+/-1.5%, P>0.05). During incubation in high glucose (16.7 mmol) solution, there was a 2-3 fold increase in insulin secretion from both groups,but the SIS-treated group showed a higher increase than the standard cultured group after 14-day culture (20.7+/-1.1 mU/L vs. 11.8+/-1.1 mU/L, P<0.05). When islets were placed in the high glucose solution supplemented with IBMX, the stimulated insulin response in the SIS-treated group was higher than that in the standard cultured group in spite of the duration of the culture. The stimulation index of the SIS-treated group was about 2-3 times of the standard cultured group. In addition, after a long period of culture, the stimulation index of the SIS-treated group was statistically equivalent with that of the short period of culture (9.5+/-0.2 vs. 10.2+/-1.2, P>0.05).


The co-culture of isolated rat islets with native sheet-like SIS can provide an excellent extracellular matrix, possible biotrophic and growth factors that promote the recovery and subsequent function of islets after in vitro tissue culture. In view of results of this study and rapid degradation of SIS in vitro, future studies will investigate the extended duration of culture and the effect of SIS on islets in vitro.

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