Decellularized Pancreatic Tailas Matrix for Pancreatic Islet Transplantation into the Greater Omentumin Rats
Infusing pancreatic islets into the portal vein currently represents the preferred approach for islet transplantation, despite considerable loss of islet mass almost immediately after implantation. Therefore, approaches that obviate direct intravascular placement are urgently needed.
A promising candidate for extrahepatic placement is the omentum. We aimed to develop an extracellular matrix skeleton from the native pancreas that could provide a microenvironment for islet survival in an omental flap. To that end, we compared different decellularization approaches, including perfusion through the pancreatic duct, gastric artery, portal vein, and a novel method through the splenic vein.
Decellularized skeletons were compared for size, residual DNA content, protein composition, histology, electron microscopy, and MR imaging after repopulation with isolated islets. Compared to the other approaches, pancreatic perfusion via the splenic vein provided smaller extracellular matrix skeletons, which facilitated transplantation into the omentum, without compromising other requirements, such as the complete depletion of cellular components and the preservation of pancreatic extracellular proteins. Repeated MR imaging of iron-oxide-labeled pancreatic islets showed that islets maintained their position in vivo for 49 days. Advanced environmental scanning electron microscopy demonstrated that islets remained integrated with the pancreatic skeleton.
This novel approach represents a proof-of-concept for long-term transplantation experiments.