, Volume 31, Issue 1 Supplement, pp 27-33
Date: 16 Jul 2007

The Pig as the Donor of Pancreatic Islets for Men

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Trucco, M., Casu, A. and Bottino, R., 2007. The pig as the donor of pancreatic islets for men. Veterinary Research Communications, 31(Suppl. 1), 27–33

Abstract

The promising results obtained using the “Edmonton protocol” for human islet transplantation has resulted in increased interest and growth of various clinical and basic science programs worldwide. Despite these encouraging results two major drawbacks remain: first, the immunosuppressive regimen necessary to prevent the rejection of this allotransplant dramatically affects the lifestyle of the treated patients precluding its implementation in younger diabetic individuals. Second, there continues to be an inadequate amount of islet tissue available to fulfill the needs of an increasing population of diabetic patients possibly interested in receiving this type of treatment. Besides the limited number of cadaveric organ donors, the current procedure used to isolate islets from their pancreata activates metabolic processes that promote the loss of β cells in the islets. Thus, it becomes necessary to use more than one donor for a single recipient. To fulfill the continuously growing need for more transplantable islets, an immediately available, unlimited source of islets may be found in animals, which are able to produce a type of insulin that is very similar to the human one, and carry islets in quantities that may satisfy the metabolic requirements of diabetic patients: the pigs.