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Xenotransplantation. 2007 Mar;14(2):157-61.

Live encapsulated porcine islets from a type 1 diabetic patient 9.5 yr after xenotransplantation.

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  • 1Living Cell Technologies, Aukland, New Zealand.



The long-term viability and function of transplanted encapsulated neonatal porcine islets was examined in a diabetic patient.


A 41-yr-old Caucasian male with type 1 diabetes for 18 yr was given an intraperitoneal transplant of alginate-encapsulated porcine islets at the dose of 15,000 islet equivalents (IEQs)/kg bodyweight (total dose 1,305,000 IEQs) via laparoscopy. By 12 weeks following the transplant, his insulin dose was significantly reduced by 30% (P = 0.0001 by multiple regression tests) from 53 units daily prior to transplant. The insulin dose returned to the pre-transplant level at week 49. Improvement in glycaemic control continued as reflected by total glycated haemoglobin of 7.8% at 14 months from a pre-transplant level of 9.3%. Urinary porcine C-peptide peaked at 4 months (9.5 ng/ml) and remained detectable for 11 months (0.6 ng/ml). The patient was followed as part of a long-term microbiologic monitoring programme which subsequently showed no evidence of porcine viral or retroviral infection. At laparoscopy 9.5 yr after transplantation, abundant nodules were seen throughout the peritoneum. Biopsies of the nodules showed opacified capsules containing cell clusters that stained as live cells under fluorescence microscopy. Immunohistology noted sparse insulin and moderate glucagon staining cells. The retrieved capsules produced a small amount of insulin when placed in high glucose concentrations in vitro. An oral glucose tolerance test induced a small rise in serum of immuno-reactive insulin, identified as porcine by reversed phase high pressure liquid chromatography.


This form of xenotransplantation treatment has the potential for sustained benefit in human type 1 diabetics.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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