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Am J Transplant. 2007 Oct;7(10):2318-25.

Human islets derived from donors after cardiac death are fully biofunctional.

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Diabetes Research Group, King's College London School of Medicine, London, UK.


Islets from brain-dead donors (BDDs) are being used in the treatment of Type 1 diabetes. However, both donor numbers and islet survival are limited. We explored the clinical potential for islets from non-heart-beating donors (NHBDs), who have lower circulating cytokines, by comparing islets from 10 NHBDs against 12 identically-isolated islets from BDDs over the same time period. The quantity and quality of islets from NHBDs was good. NHBD yielded approximately 12.6% more islets than those of BDDs (505,000 +/- 84,230 vs. 400,970 +/- 172,430 islet equivalent number [IEQ]/pancreas, p = 0.01) with comparable viability. ATP and GTP contents were lower (6.026 +/- 3.076 vs. 18.105 +/- 7.8 nM/mg protein, p = 0.01 and 1.52 +/- 0.87 vs. 3.378 +/- 0.83 nM/mg protein, p = 0.04) and correlated negatively to warm ischemia time (R(2)= 0.8022 and R(2)= 0.7996, respectively). Islets from NHBDs took longer to control hyperglycemia in diabetic mice, but were equally able to sustain euglycemia. With a warm ischemia time (WIT) of <or=25 min, islets from NHBDs are at least as competent as islets from BDDs and should be suitable for clinical use.

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