Storage and microencapsulation of islets for transplantation

Kirk Charles, Robert C. Harland, Denise Ching, Emmanuel C. Opara

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Microencapsulation is an effective means of immunoisolation for pancreatic islet transplants. However, the process of isolating, purifying, encapsulating, and transplanting islets in a single day is labor intensive and difficult for routine use. There is an apparent need for reliable methods of islet storage, and cryopreservation has emerged as an attractive system of islet banking. While studies have shown that cryopreserved islets are viable when tested unencapsulated after thawing, it is not clear if the combination of freezing and encapsulation would affect islet function. The purpose of the present study was to determine the in vitro function of cryopreserved islets following thawing and microencapsulation. Islets were isolated from the pancreata of Sprague-Dawley rats and cryopreserved under liquid nitrogen for either 1 week or 1 month, following an overnight culture at 37°C. Upon thawing, the islets were tested either unencapsulated or after encapsulation in polylysine-alginate membrane. In all experiments islets were preperifused for 1 h at 37°C with a modified Krebs-Ringer bicarbonate buffer containing 3.3 mM (60 mg/dl) glucose and maintained at pH 7.4 by continuous gassing with 95% air/5% CO2. Following basal effluent sample collection on ice, the glucose concentration was raised to 16.7 mM (300 mg/dl). It was found that, within 10 min of high glucose stimulation, an average of twofold increase in insulin secretion (p < 0.01) was obtained in islets within or without microcapsules. We conclude that islets cryopreserved for 1 month prior to thawing and microencapsulation retained functional viability as determined in in vitro experiments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)33-38
Number of pages6
JournalCell transplantation
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2000


  • Banking
  • Cryopreservation
  • Islets
  • Microencapsulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Cell Biology
  • Transplantation


Dive into the research topics of 'Storage and microencapsulation of islets for transplantation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this