Comparison of the collagen VI content within the islet-exocrine interface of the head, body, and tail regions of the human pancreas.
Hughes SJ., McShane P., Contractor HH., Gray DW., Clark A., Johnson PR.
Efficient islet isolation depends on the use of collagenase to digest the extracellular matrix within the islet-exocrine interface, the molecular structure of which is poorly understood. Recently it has been reported that transplantable yields of islets can be isolated from the tail segment of the pancreas alone. This study aimed to quantify and compare the amount of collagenase-resistant collagen VI within the islet-exocrine interface of the head, body, and tail of the human pancreas. Human adult pancreata (n = 5) were retrieved from heart-beating donors (age range, 40-62 years; cold ischemia times <10 hours). Tissue blocks from the head, body, and tail region of each pancreas were fixed in formalin and processed for immuno-labelling of collagen VI, which was quantified in the islet-exocrine interface using a Zeiss KS-400 image analysis system. Data were expressed as area of collagen at the interface relative to the islet area. Statistical analysis was done using paired t test. The mean islet areas in the head, body, and tail regions were not significantly different. Collagen VI was uniformly present within the islet-exocrine interface of all regions of the pancreas and was 0.326 +/- 0.064, 0.324 +/- 0.060, and 0.334 +/- 0.052 microm(2)/islet area (P = .441) in the head, body, and tail, respectively. The content of collagen VI within the islet-exocrine interface was uniform throughout all parts of the adult pancreas. Targeting this collagen subtype with novel collagenase blends may result in consistently improved islet yields and enable a wider number of available donor pancreata to be used.