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Transplant Proc. 2008 Mar;40(2):473-6. doi: 10.1016/j.transproceed.2008.01.003.

Overexpression of vascular endothelial growth factor in vitro using deferoxamine: a new drug to increase islet vascularization during transplantation.

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  • 1Laboratoire de recherche, CeeD Strasbourg, France.


During pancreatic islet transplantation, delayed and insufficient revascularization can deprive islets of oxygen and nutrients, resulting in cell death and early graft failure. Deferoxamine (DFO), an iron chelator, increases vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) expression in cells. The aim of this work was to study the effect of DFO on beta-cell and pancreatic islet viability as well as VEGF expression. beta-cell lines from rat insulinoma (Rin m5f) and primary cultures of pancreatic islets from Wistar rats were incubated with DFO (10, 100, and 1000 micromol/L). The viability was evaluated using fluorescein diacetate/propidium iodide for dying pancreatic islets and using cell titers for Rin m5f. Expression of VEGF messenger RNA (mRNA) was quantified using reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). Finally, VEGF secretion was determined using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays at 1 to 3 days after treatment. The addition of 10 micromol/L of DFO preserved Rin m5F viability at 24 hours after treatment (10 micromol/L; 101.33% +/- 5.66%; n = 7). However, 100 and 1000 micromol/L of DFO induced cell death (68.92% +/- 5.83% and 65.89% +/- 5.83%, respectively; n = 4). In the same way, viability of pancreatic islets in the presence of DFO was preserved. RT-PCR analysis showed stimulation of VEGF mRNA in the presence of 10 micromol/L of DFO in islets at 3 days after culture. Finally, 10 micromol/L of DFO stimulated secretion of VEGF 7.95 +/- 0.84 versus 1.80 +/- 1.10 pg/microg total protein with 10 micromol/L of DFO in rat islets at 3 days after culture, n = 3; P < .001). The use of DFO to stimulate VEGF expression and increase islet vascularization may be a realistic approach to improve islet viability during transplantation.

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