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Cell Transplant. 2004;13(2):145-52.

Polyphenol, an extract of green tea, increases culture recovery rates of isolated islets from nonhuman primate pancreata and marginal grade human pancreata.

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Northwest Tissue Center at the Puget Sound Blood Center, Seattle, WA 98104, USA.


Investigations indicate that an extract of green tea, polyphenol, can significantly increase the culture survival rate of rat islets without deteriorating their functionality. In this study, we examined the effect of adding polyphenol to islets isolated from human pancreata and nonhuman primate pancreata. Islets were isolated from human pancreata that did not meet criteria for clinical transplantation (n = 6) and from nonhuman primate pancreata (n = 5). The islets were cultured in CMRL-1066 + 10% FCS with the addition of 0, 30, 60, 125, 250, or 500 microg/ml of polyphenol. After 24 or 48 h of culture, islet yield, viability, purity, morphology, and stimulation index was assessed. RT-PCR and Western blot analysis were also performed to assess the expression levels of the apoptotic related genes, Bcl-2 and BAX. After 24 h of culture, islet yields were significantly higher in cultures supplemented with 30-250 microg/ml of polyphenol than in cultures without polyphenol. After 48 h of culture, significant differences in islet numbers were observed with polyphenol concentrations of 125 microg/ml (p < 0.01) and 250 microg/ml (p < 0.01). However, no significant differences were noted in islet viability, purity, morphology, and stimulation index at each time point with or without polyphenol. RT-PCR and Western blot analysis of the islets indicated that Bcl-2 levels increased by 2.5-fold and BAX levels decreased by twofold in cultures supplemented with polyphenol. This resulted in BAX/Bcl-2 ratios that were lower in polyphenol-supplemented cultures than with control cultures. Polyphenol increases culture recovery rates by precluding islet apoptosis.

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