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Tissue Eng. 2005 Sep-Oct;11(9-10):1323-31.

Development of an ectopic site for islet transplantation, using biodegradable scaffolds.

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Surgical-Medical Research Institute, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada.


Clinical islet transplantation in liver has achieved normoglycemia. However, this site may not be ideal for islet survival. To create a more optimal site for islet transplantation, we have developed a construct with biodegradable scaffolds. Islets were seeded in scaffolds and transplanted into the epididymal fat pad of diabetic BALB/c mice. Controls included islets transplanted underneath the kidney capsule or into the fat pad without scaffolds. All animals with islets in scaffolds or the kidney became normoglycemic and maintained this metabolic state. When islets were transplanted without scaffolds the time to achieve normoglycemia was significantly increased and less than 45% of mice survived. An oral glucose tolerance test was performed on the scaffold and kidney groups with similar blood glucose levels and area under the curve values between the groups. Grafts were removed at more than 100 days posttransplantation and all animals became hyperglycemic. There was no significant difference in insulin content between the grafts and all grafts were well vascularized with insulin-positive beta cells. Therefore, islets in scaffolds function and restore diabetic animals to normoglycemic levels, similar to islets transplanted underneath the kidney capsule, suggesting scaffolds can be used to create a site for islet transplantation.

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