Viability and Functions of Alginate-microencapsulated Islets Isolated from Neonatal Pigs

  • Lin, Yi-Juain (Division of Biotechnology, Animal Technology Institute Taiwan) ;
  • Wang, Jui-Ping (Division of Biotechnology, Animal Technology Institute Taiwan) ;
  • Chung, Yu-Tung (Division of Biotechnology, Animal Technology Institute Taiwan) ;
  • Sun, Yu-Ling (Division of Biotechnology, Animal Technology Institute Taiwan) ;
  • Chou, Yu-Chi (Division of Biotechnology, Animal Technology Institute Taiwan)
  • Received : 2006.08.07
  • Accepted : 2006.12.06
  • Published : 2007.05.01


Patients with Type I diabetes mellitus have been treated with porcine insulin for several decades and pigs have recently been deemed an ideal source of microencapsulated islet cells for clinical xenotransplantation. In this study, neonatal pigs were anesthetized and sacrificed prior to a pancreatectomy. Islet cells were isolated from pancreas via collagenase digestion. Islet cells were separated and collected by hand under microscopic guidance. These cells were suspended in 1.4% sodium alginate solution and encapsulated by dropping them into 1.1% calcium chloride solution and in which the round gel in size was 250-400 ${\mu}m$ in diameter. Viability of the microencapsulated islet cells cultured in medium at $37^{\circ}C$ was assessed by MTT assay. Furthermore, insulin released in response to glucose challenge was investigated using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Secretion of insulin was low in response to the basal glucose solution (4.4 mM) in medium and was significantly higher in response to the high glucose solution (16.7 mM). The viability of microencapsulated islet cells did not differ significantly over a period of 7 days; that is, the increasing pattern of insulin concentration in the culture medium after glucose stimulation interval day was similar throughout the 7 days cultivation. In summary, experimental evidences indicated that the effects of alginate-microencapsulation prolonged survival of the neonatal porcine islets in vitro cultures and the insulin response to glucose of the islets was maintained.


Neonatal Pig;Islet;Microencapsulation;Insulin;Insulin Secretory Responsiveness


Supported by : Ministry of Economic Affairs, National Science Council of Executive Yuan of the Republic of China


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