Islet grafts are transplanted into the liver via a portal vein in 90% of the clinical islet transplantations. However, the portal vein is far from being the ideal infusion site due to its unique drawbacks. These issues necessitated the exploration of an alternatively optimized site for clinical islet transplantation. With the widespread clinical application of percutaneous transhepatic puncture technique, we envisioned the possibility of islet transplantation into the hepatic sinus tract (HST).Methods
The HST was created by temporarily placing a medically approved material into the hepatic parenchyma of C57BL/6 mice. The syngeneic islets were transplanted into the HST, after which, the nonfasting blood glucose, intraperitoneal glucose tolerance, and morphology were evaluated.Results
A collagen-lined HST was formed by the 28-day implantation of a cylindrical nylon rod. Transplantation of ~300 syngeneic islets into the HST routinely reversed the hyperglycemia of the recipient mice and maintained normoglycemia for longer than 100 days until the graft was removed. The islet grafts within the HST stained positively for insulin, glucagon, and abundant microvessels and achieved comparable results to the islet grafts under the kidney capsule with respect to glycemic control and glucose tolerance.Conclusions
These results suggested that an HST can be constructed for islet transplantation by temporarily placing a nylon material in the liver parenchyma. The HST is a promising site for clinical islet transplantation, thereby providing a satisfactory environment for the survival and metabolic function of islet grafts.