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Tissue Eng Part B Rev. 2011 Aug;17(4):235-47. doi: 10.1089/ten.TEB.2011.0004. Epub 2011 May 25.

Matrix components and scaffolds for sustained islet function.

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Graduate School of Biomedical Engineering, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia.


The clinical treatment of diabetes by islet transplantation is limited by low islet survival rates. A fundamental reason for this inefficiency is likely due to the removal of islets from their native environment. The isolation process not only disrupts interactions between blood vessels and endocrine cells, but also dramatically changes islet cell interaction with the extracellular matrix (ECM). Biomolecular cues from the ECM are important for islet survival, proliferation, and function; however, very little is known about the composition of islet ECM and the role each component plays. Without a thorough understanding of islet ECM, current endeavors to prolong islet survival via scaffold engineering lack a systematic basis. The following article reviews current knowledge of islet ECM and attempts to explain the roles they play in islet function. In addition, the effects of in vitro simulations of the native islet scaffold will be evaluated. Greater understanding in these areas will provide a preliminary platform from which a sustainable bioartificial pancreas may be developed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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