Applied Cell Biology

Applied Cell Biology

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Cryopreservation of Pancreatic Islets

Jonathan RT Lakey, Samuel Rodriguez, M. Rezaa Mohammadi, Greg G Kojayan, Michael Alexander

1Department of Surgery, University of California Irvine, 333 City Blvd West, Suite 1600, Orange, CA 92868, USA
2Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of California Irvine, 402 E Peltason Dr, Irvine, CA 92617, USA


Diabetes is a progressive disease with significant health and economic impacts. Pancreatic islet transplantation is being developed as an alternative treatment for type 1 diabetic patients. This treatment is currently limited by availability of pancreas and isolated islets from deceased organ donor and need for chronic immunosuppression. There is also the need to transplant the isolated islets within 1-2 days after isolation. To address this issue, cryopreservation of islets may offer the potential to bank islets for implantation at a later time, being able to provide the transplant tissue as a non-emergency procedure and allow recipient to receive pre transplant treatment. Cryopreservation, the process of adding and removing cryoprotectants, cooling, freezing, thawing, and finally the removal of the cryoprotectants introduce significant steps that affect both islet survival and function. Previous studies have proposed various techniques that could lead to increased cell survival and function following cryopreservation. The goal of this review is to critically review the techniques of islet cryopreservation, identify new strategies to improve post cryopreservation survival and function with the goal of highlighting optimization parameters that can lead to the most viable and functional islet upon recovery and/or transplant.

Pancreatic Islets
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