Prolonged Islet Allograft Survival in Diabetic Mice Upon Macrophage Depletion by Clodronate-Loaded Erythrocytes

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Early impairment of islet function and graft loss strongly limit the success of allogenic islet transplantation in insulin-dependent diabetes. Macrophages play a key role in this process thus the depletion of these cells may strongly affect islet survival. In this study, we have evaluated the effect of the depletion of macrophages in mouse allograft rejection using a new approach based on a single infusion of red blood cells loaded with the synthetic analogue of pyrophosphate clodronate. Graft survival was 19.4±0.89 and 20±2 days in the two control groups treated with physiological solution and unloaded erythrocytes, respectively; 25±1.9 days in the group treated with free-clodronate and 35±6 days in the erythrocytes-loaded group. Our results indicate clodronate selectively targeted to the macrophagic cells by a single administration of engineered erythrocytes can significantly prolong islet graft survival and open new therapeutic strategies in islet transplantation.

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