Long-term Efficacy and Biocompatibility of Encapsulated Islet Transplantation With Chitosan-Coated Alginate Capsules in Mice and Canine Models of Diabetes

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Clinical application of encapsulated islet transplantation is hindered by low biocompatibility of capsules leading to pericapsular fibrosis and decreased islet viability. To improve biocompatibility, we designed a novel chitosan-coated alginate capsules and compared them to uncoated alginate capsules.


Alginate capsules were formed by crosslinking with BaCl2, then they were suspended in chitosan solution for 10 minutes at pH 4.5. Xenogeneic islet transplantation, using encapsulated porcine islets in 1,3-galactosyltransferase knockout mice, and allogeneic islet transplantation, using encapsulated canine islets in beagles, were performed without immunosuppressants.


The chitosan-alginate capsules showed similar pore size, islet viability, and insulin secretory function compared to alginate capsules, in vitro. Xenogeneic transplantation of chitosan-alginate capsules demonstrated a trend toward superior graft survival (P = 0.07) with significantly less pericapsular fibrosis (cell adhesion score: 3.77 ± 0.41 vs 8.08 ± 0.05; P < 0.001) compared to that of alginate capsules up to 1 year after transplantation. Allogeneic transplantation of chitosan-alginate capsules normalized the blood glucose level up to 1 year with little evidence of pericapsular fibrotic overgrowth on graft explantation.


The efficacy and biocompatibility of chitosan-alginate capsules were demonstrated in xenogeneic and allogeneic islet transplantations using small and large animal models of diabetes. This capsule might be a potential candidate applicable in the treatment of type 1 diabetes mellitus patients, and further studies in nonhuman primates are required.

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