Effects of encapsulated porcine islets on glucose and C-peptide concentrations in diabetic nude mice 6 months after intraperitoneal transplantation.

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In patients with type 1 diabetes, allogeneic islet transplantation can provide normal HbA1c concentrations, but it requires immunosuppression. Transplanting encapsulated islets into the peritoneal cavity could reduce or eliminate the need for immunosuppression. One of the uncertain features of intraperitoneal islet transplantation is the difficulty of measuring C-peptide concentrations in peripheral blood, which is often used for the marker of islet function. We hypothesized that secreted C-peptide from intraperitoneally transplanted islets was mostly consumed in the peritoneal cavity, which resulted in low C-peptide concentrations in peripheral blood.


In each of two experiments, encapsulated neonatal porcine islets were intraperitoneally transplanted into four nude mice with streptozotocin-induced diabetes. Three diabetic nude mice without transplanted islets were used as diabetic controls, and three untreated healthy nude mice were used as normal controls. Islet functions were monitored for 2 months in the first experiment and 6 months in the second experiment. Encapsulated islets were retrieved after each experiment and evaluated by fluorescein diacetate/propidium iodide tests for the viability and static glucose-stimulated insulin release tests for the function. C-peptide concentrations from the blood and from the intraperitoneal cavity at 6 months were compared.


In both experiments, diabetes was reversed in all transplanted mice, and oral glucose tolerance test showed improved profiles. In general, retrieved islets were viable and functional. However, blood porcine C-peptide concentrations were low at both 2 and 6 months, and concentrations in the ascites of peritoneal cavity were 40 times as high as those in blood.


The peripheral blood sampling for c-peptide, though highly informative in vascularized grafts, may not be the primary tool for monitoring the health and function of encapsulated products when transplanted into intraperitoneal cavity. Our results might explain the clinical feature of the low C-peptide blood concentrations after successful intraperitoneal encapsulated islet transplantation.

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