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Diabetologia. 1995 May;38(5):543-9.

Rapid deposition of amyloid in human islets transplanted into nude mice.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, Link√∂ping University, Sweden.


Human islets of Langerhans were transplanted to the subcapsular space of the kidneys of nude mice which were either normoglycaemic or made diabetic with alloxan. After 2 weeks, the transplants were processed for light and electron microscopical analyses. In all transplants, islet amyloid polypeptide (IAPP)-positive cells were found with highest frequency in normoglycaemic animals. IAPP-positive amyloid was seen in 16 out of 22 transplants (73%), either by polarisation microscopy after Congo red staining or by immune electron microscopy. At variance with previous findings of amyloid deposits exclusively in the extracellular space of islets of non-insulin-dependent diabetic patients, the grafted islets contained intracellular amyloid deposits as well. There was no clear difference in occurrence of amyloid between diabetic and non-diabetic animals. The present study indicates that human islets transplanted into nude mice very soon present IAPP-positive amyloid deposits. This technique may provide a valuable model for studies of the pathogenesis of islet amyloid and its impact on islet cell function.

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