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Research Article

Normalization of diabetes in spontaneously diabetic cynomologus monkeys by xenografts of microencapsulated porcine islets without immunosuppression.

Y Sun, X Ma, D Zhou, I Vacek and A M Sun

Department of Physiology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Published September 15, 1996

Porcine pancreatic islets were microencapsulated in alginate-polylysine-alginate capsules and transplanted intraperitoneally into nine spontaneously diabetic monkeys. After one, two, or three transplants of 3-7 x 10(4) islets per recipient, seven of the monkeys became insulin independent for periods ranging from 120 to 804 d with fasting blood glucose levels in the normoglycemic range. Glucose clearance rates in the transplant recipients were significantly higher than before the graft administration and the insulin secretion during glucose tolerance tests was significantly higher compared with pretransplant tests. Porcine C-peptide was detected in all transplant recipients throughout their period of normoglycemia while none was found before the graft administration. Hemoglobin A1C levels dropped significantly within 2 mo after transplantation. While ketones were detected in the urine of all recipients before the graft administration, all experimental animals became ketone free 2 wk after transplantation. Capsules recovered from two recipients 3 mo after the restoration of normoglycemia were found physically intact with enclosed islets clearly visible. The capsules were free of cellular overgrowth. Examination of internal organs of two of the animals involved in our transplantation studies for the duration of 2 yr revealed no untoward effect of the extended presence of the microcapsules.