A novel approach to xenotransplantation combining surface engineering and genetic modification of isolated adult porcine islets.
BACKGROUND: Effective cytoprotection to xenoislets would circumvent the major tissue limitation for pancreatic islet transplantation (PIT). Cell-surface engineering with poly[ethylene glycol] (PEG) derivatives can successfully prevent antibody binding to the surface antigens. Gene transfer of the antiapoptotic Bcl-2 gene has been shown to decrease cytotoxicity mediated by xenoreactive natural antibodies and complement. In this study, we assessed survival and function of surface-engineered porcine islets genetically modified to overexpress Bcl-2. METHODS: Incorporation of PEG derivatives into the islet surface and adenovirus-mediated gene transfer of Bcl-2 (AdBcl-2) was accomplished within 24 hours post-isolation. Cytotoxicity induced by human xenoreactive natural antibodies was evaluated by islet intracellular lactate dehydrogenase release and microscopic analysis using membrane-integrity staining. Islet functionality was assessed by static incubation and after intraportal infusion (5000 IEQ) into diabetic NOD-SCID mice reconstituted with human lymphocytes (5 x 10 8 /intraperitoneally/15 days before PIT). RESULTS: No significant change in islet viability, morphology, and functionality was demonstrated after the incorporation of PEG-mono-succimidyl-succinate (MSPEG), or PEG-di-succimidyl-succinate "end"-capped with albumin (DSPEG) with or without gene transfer of Bcl-2. Islets treated with MSPEG presented a significant reduction in lactate dehydrogenase release compared with controls (41.2 +/- 3 vs 72.1 +/- 7, respectively, P <.05). Further protection was accomplished by DSPEG or AdBcl-2. The maximal cytoprotection was achieved by DSPEG +AdBcl-2 (15.5 +/- 4.9%, P <.001). Nonfasting glucose >200 mg/dL was found in 100% of the animals given control islets (n = 6) within 48 hours post-transplant. In contrast, euglycemia was achieved in 100% of the animals given islets modified with DSPEG + AdBcl-2 during the observation time. CONCLUSIONS: Surface-engineering with functionalized PEG derivatives in combination with genetic modification with Bcl-2 significantly reduced islet loss after PIT. Application of this novel technology may improve results in xenoislet transplantation.
Contreras, JL; Xie, D; Mays, J; Smyth, CA; Eckstein, C; Rahemtulla, FG; Young, CJ; Anthony Thompson, J; Bilbao, G; Curiel, DT; Eckhoff, DE
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