Prevention of Nonimmunologic Loss of Transplanted Islets in Monkeys



The nonimmunologic loss of islets in the pre-, peri-, and early post-islet transplant periods is profound. To determine the potential role that transplantation of only a marginal mass of functioning beta cells may play in triggering late nonimmunologic graft loss, we studied the effect of treatment with alpha-1-antitrypsin (AAT) in the autologous cynomolgus islet transplant model. A marginal mass of autologous islets, that is islets prepared from 70% to 80% of the pancreas, was transplanted at 1600–4100 IEQ/kg into subtotal pancreatectomized, streptozotocin-treated and insulin-deficient diabetic hosts. In this marginal mass islet transplant model, islet function is insidiously lost over time and diabetes recurs in all untreated monkeys by 180 days posttransplantation. Short-term treatment with AAT, an acute phase reactant, in the peri-transplant period serves to terminate inflammation through effects upon expression of TGFβ, NFκB and AKT and favorably altering expression of cell death and survival pathways, as detected by a system biology approach and histology. These effects enabled functional expansion of the islet mass in transplanted hosts such that graft function improves rather than deteriorating over time.