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J Transplant. 2011;2011:141898. doi: 10.1155/2011/141898. Epub 2011 Dec 14.

Induction of protective genes leads to islet survival and function.

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Division of General Surgery, Department of Surgery, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC 29425, USA.


Islet transplantation is the most valid approach to the treatment of type 1 diabetes. However, the function of transplanted islets is often compromised since a large number of β cells undergo apoptosis induced by stress and the immune rejection response elicited by the recipient after transplantation. Conventional treatment for islet transplantation is to administer immunosuppressive drugs to the recipient to suppress the immune rejection response mounted against transplanted islets. Induction of protective genes in the recipient (e.g., heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1), A20/tumor necrosis factor alpha inducible protein3 (tnfaip3), biliverdin reductase (BVR), Bcl2, and others) or administration of one or more of the products of HO-1 to the donor, the islets themselves, and/or the recipient offers an alternative or synergistic approach to improve islet graft survival and function. In this perspective, we summarize studies describing the protective effects of these genes on islet survival and function in rodent allogeneic and xenogeneic transplantation models and the prevention of onset of diabetes, with emphasis on HO-1, A20, and BVR. Such approaches are also appealing to islet autotransplantation in patients with chronic pancreatitis after total pancreatectomy, a procedure that currently only leads to 1/3 of transplanted patients being diabetes-free.

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