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Diabetes. 2002 May;51(5):1362-6.

Decreased vascular density in mouse pancreatic islets after transplantation.

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  • 1Department of Medical Cell Biology, Biomedical Center, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden.


An adequate revascularization is crucial for islet survival and function after transplantation. Previous studies have suggested that islet revascularization is concluded within 14 days after transplantation. We investigated if the vascular density of transplanted islets and endogenous pancreatic islets differs. Cultured islets were syngeneically transplanted into the kidney, liver, or spleen of C57BL/6 mice. One month later, the graft-bearing organ was removed, and histological specimens were prepared and stained for endothelium with the lectin Bandeiraea simplicifolia. Pancreata from nontransplanted control animals were prepared similarly. Uniform staining of endothelium within the grafts and endogenous islets was obtained. The vascular density was markedly decreased in transplanted islets at all implantation sites, but preferentially in islets implanted into the spleen. The vascular density in the connective tissue surrounding the transplanted islets was very high compared with that of graft intra-islet capillaries. A much lower vascular density was detected in connective tissue surrounding implanted microspheres of a size similar to the islets, which suggests that the islets per se induced blood vessel formation in their vicinity. We conclude that the vascular density in revascularized transplanted islets is markedly decreased compared with endogenous islets. This has potential implications for islet graft metabolism and function.

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