Critical islet mass for successful porcine islet autotrasplantation

J. Mellert, B. J. Hering, X. Liu, D. Brandhorst, H. Brandhorst, F. Pfeffer, K. Federlin, R. G. Bretzel, U. T. Hopt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


A major reason for the failure of clinical islet transplantations may be a limited islet mass. The aim of this study was to determine the critical islet mass necessary for normalization of glucose metabolism in a porcine model. Diabetes was induced by total pancreatectomy. The splenic lobe of the pancreas was intraductally distended with UW-solution containing 2.67-3.33 mg/ml collagenase, and the distended pancreas was digested in a continuous digestion filtration device. The islets were purified on a isoosmotic Ficoll- sodium-diatrizoate gradient. The survival period of the diabetic recipients in group 2 and 3 receiving, respectively, a low (2.14±0.39 μL/kg body weight) and a high (4.99±0.83 μL/kg body weight) islet mass was significantly prolonged compared to that of diabetic recipients in group 1 receiving no islet transplantation. However, the survival period of the recipients in group 2 was not significantly different to that in group 3. Three recipients of an islet mass of >5 μl/kg body weight became normoglycemic (fasting blood glucose <100 mg/dl) for more than two months. Furthermore, the glucose and insulin release reactions to the glucose challenge were comparable to that before pancreatectomy. Contrarily, another five diabetic recipients of an islet mass of <4 μL/kg body weight became a fasting blood glucose level of <200 mg/dl. The glucose and insulin release reactions to the glucose challenge were improved only, but not normalized compared to that before pancreatectomy. The data presented in this study demonstrate that metabolic normalization in pancreatectomized diabetic minipigs can be established by autotransplantation of an islet mass of >5 μl/kg body weight.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)126-129
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Molecular Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1999
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgements This work was supported by Bundesministerium Bildung, Wissenschaft, Forschung and Technologie (BMBF). The skillful technical assistance of the technician Mrs. B. Pajewski and the advice of Mr. T. Wodetzki in performing the statistical graphics are greatly acknowledged.

Copyright 2018 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Glucose tolerance test
  • Pancreatectomy
  • Porcine islets Autotransplantation

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