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Transplantation. 2012 Jul 15;94(1):30-5. doi: 10.1097/TP.0b013e318257745d.

Caspase inhibitor IDN6556 facilitates marginal mass islet engraftment in a porcine islet autotransplant model.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. mmccall@ualberta.ca



Large numbers of islets are lost in the early phase after clinical islet transplantation, through apoptosis, necrosis, or innate inflammatory injury. We previously demonstrated the efficacy of a series of caspase inhibitors in mouse models on islet engraftment through reduction in early posttransplant apoptosis. We studied IDN6556, a caspase inhibitor with a first-pass effect, in a large animal (pig) intraportal marginal mass islet autotransplant model.


Total pancreatectomy and marginal mass islet autotransplantation were carried out in Yucatan miniature swine to explore the effects of IDN6556 on islet engraftment. Pigs were treated with IDN6556 at a dose of 20 mg/kg orally twice daily (n=7) or phosphate-buffered saline control (n=6) orally for 7 days, and blood glucose was monitored for 1 month. Glucose tolerance and acute insulin release were determined at 1 month.


There were no differences in islet procurement, isolation, or islet functional parameters between the two groups. Pigs receiving IDN6556 had lower fasting blood glucose level after transplantation and a higher percentage (100% vs. 33.3%) showed fasting blood glucose levels less than 11 mM. This translated into an enhanced metabolic reserve and acute insulin release for pigs in the treatment group.


IDN6556 led to enhanced islet engraftment in this large animal islet transplant model. Although this study has limitations including a short interval of study (1 month) and the use of unpurified islets, the results justify early clinical trials of IDN6556 in islet transplantation.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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