Implication of Mitochondrial Cytoprotection in Human Islet Isolation and Transplantation

Islet transplantation is a promising therapy for type 1 diabetes mellitus; however, success rates in achieving both short- and longterm insulin independence are not consistent, due in part to inconsistent islet quality and quantity caused by the complex nature and multistep process of islet isolation and transplantation. Since the introduction of the Edmonton Protocol in 2000, more attention has been placed on preserving mitochondrial function as increasing evidences suggest that impaired mitochondrial integrity can adversely affect clinical outcomes. Some recent studies have demonstrated that it is possible to achieve islet cytoprotection by maintaining mitochondrial function and subsequently to improve islet transplantation outcomes. However, the benefits of mitoprotection in many cases are controversial and the underlying mechanisms are unclear. This article summarizes the recent progress associated with mitochondrial cytoprotection in each step of the islet isolation and transplantation process, as well as islet potency and viability assays based on the measurement of mitochondrial integrity. In addition, we briefly discuss immunosuppression side effects on islet graft function and how transplant site selection affects islet engraftment and clinical outcomes.

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