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Am J Transplant. 2019 Oct 25. doi: 10.1111/ajt.15662. [Epub ahead of print]

Co-localized immune protection using dexamethasone-eluting micelles in a murine islet allograft model.

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Alberta Diabetes Institute, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
Department of Surgery, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.


The broad application of ß cell transplantation for type 1 diabetes is hindered by the requisite of lifelong systemic immunosuppression. This study examines the utility of localized islet graft drug delivery to subvert the inflammatory and adaptive immune responses. Herein, we have developed and characterized dexamethasone (Dex) eluting Food and Drug Administration-approved micro-Poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) micelles and examined their efficacy in a fully major histocompatibility complex-mismatch murine islet allograft model. A clinically relevant dose of 46.6 ± 2.8 μg Dex per graft was confirmed when 2 mg of micelles was implemented. Dex-micelles + CTLA-4-Ig (n = 10) resulted in prolonged allograft function with 80% of the recipients demonstrating insulin independence for 60 days posttransplant compared to 40% in empty micelles + CTLA-4-Ig recipients (n = 10, P = .06). Recipients of this combination therapy (n = 8) demonstrated superior glucose tolerance profiles, compared to empty micelles + CTLA-4-Ig recipients (n = 4, P < .05), and significantly reduced localized intragraft proinflammatory cytokine expression. Histologically, increased insulin positive and FOXP3+ T cells were observed in Dex-micelles + CTLA-4-Ig grafts compared to empty micelles + CTLA-4-Ig grafts (P < .01 and P < .05, respectively). Localized drug delivery via micelles elution has the potential to alter the inflammatory environment, enhances allograft survival, and may be an important adjuvant approach to improve clinical islet transplantation outcomes.


animal models; basic (laboratory) research/science; diabetes: type 1; immunosuppressant; immunosuppression/immune modulation; islet transplantation; islets of Langerhans; translational research/science


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