OBJECTIVE - Treatment of diabetic patients by pancreatic islet transplantation often requires the use of islets from two to four donors to produce insulin independence in a single recipient. Following isolation and transplantation, islets are susceptible to apoptosis, which limits their function and probably long-term islet graft survival. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS - To address this issue, we examined the effect of the cell-permeable apoptosis inhibitor pentapeptide Val-Pro-Met-Leu-Lys, V5, on pancreatic islets in a mouse model. RESULTS - V5 treatment upregulated expression of anti-apoptotic proteins Bcl-2 and XIAP (X-linked inhibitor of apoptosis protein) by more than 3- and 11-fold and downregulated expression of apoptosis-inducing proteins Bax, Bad, and nuclear factor-κB-p65 by 10, 30, and nearly 50%, respectively. Treatment improved the recovered islet mass following collagenase digestion and isolation by 44% and in vitro glucose-responsive insulin secretion nearly fourfold. Following transplantation in streptozotocin-induced diabetic mice, 150 V5-treated islet equivalents functioned as well as 450 control untreated islet equivalents in normalizing blood glucose. CONCLUSIONS - These studies indicate that inhibition of apoptosis by V5 significantly improves islet function following isolation and improves islet graft function following transplantation. Use of this reagent in clinical islet transplantation could have a dramatic impact on the number of patients that might benefit from this therapy and could affect long-term graft survival.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Internal Medicine
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism