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J Surg Res. 2013 Jul;183(1):442-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jss.2013.01.028. Epub 2013 Feb 4.

Safety and efficacy of ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid for removing microcapsules.

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Department of Thyroid and Breast Diseases, Central Laboratory, Cell Transplantation Key Lab attached to Ministry of Public Health, and The First Affiliated Hospital of Harbin Medical University, Harbin, China.



Microencapsulated islets are used to prevent immune rejection associated with pancreatic islet transplantation, but cellular overgrowth affects transplantation success, necessitating removal of microcapsules prior to retransplantation. This study aimed to investigate the safety and efficacy of ethylendiaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA) for the removal of microcapsules surrounding islet cells.


Microcapsule dissolution was investigated after in vitro exposure to EDTA for 72 h. Dissolution, blood biochemical markers, and pathologic changes in abdominal organs were observed after intraperitoneal administration of different concentrations of EDTA to rats with abdominally transplanted empty microcapsules. The extent of overgrowth and time to adhesion development were recorded after implantation of microencapsulated islets into the abdominal cavity of diabetic rats. EDTA (0-240 mmol/L) was injected to observe the transplantation effect and ability to dissolve microcapsules.


There was a positive correlation between the rate of microcapsule dissolution and EDTA concentration in vitro. Following administration of 60 mmol/L EDTA, the majority of microcapsules within the abdominal cavity were dissolved and the retrieval rate was 2.6%. No adverse effects, abnormal blood biochemical markers, or organ damage were observed in rats 1 mo following intraperitoneal injection with EDTA at doses up to 60 mmol/L. Microcapsule retrieval and blood glucose were significantly higher in cases of grade II cellular overgrowth than in cases of grade 0-I overgrowth.


EDTA (60 mmol/L) dissolved microcapsules in vivo without affecting islet cell viability or secretion capacity, and without affecting blood biochemical markers. Optimal dissolution was achieved with grade 0-I overgrowth after implantation of microencapsulated islets.

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