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Diabetologia. 1995 May;38(5):543-9.

Rapid deposition of amyloid in human islets transplanted into nude mice.

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Department of Pathology, Linköping University, Sweden.


Human islets of Langerhans were transplanted to the subcapsular space of the kidneys of nude mice which were either normoglycaemic or made diabetic with alloxan. After 2 weeks, the transplants were processed for light and electron microscopical analyses. In all transplants, islet amyloid polypeptide (IAPP)-positive cells were found with highest frequency in normoglycaemic animals. IAPP-positive amyloid was seen in 16 out of 22 transplants (73%), either by polarisation microscopy after Congo red staining or by immune electron microscopy. At variance with previous findings of amyloid deposits exclusively in the extracellular space of islets of non-insulin-dependent diabetic patients, the grafted islets contained intracellular amyloid deposits as well. There was no clear difference in occurrence of amyloid between diabetic and non-diabetic animals. The present study indicates that human islets transplanted into nude mice very soon present IAPP-positive amyloid deposits. This technique may provide a valuable model for studies of the pathogenesis of islet amyloid and its impact on islet cell function.

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