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INTRODUCTION: With currently available technology, the outcomes of human islet isolation and purification are still inconsistent, in part due to a lack of control of the pancreas donor and the procurement conditions. Using a single donor pancreas, the critical islet mass for establishing insulin independence of approximately 5000 engrafted islet equivalents (IEQ)/kg of recipient weight can only be retrieved from about one third of isolations. The purpose of this study was to analyze whether successful islet isolation and purification outcomes might be predicted from the density of native pancreatic tissue. METHODS: Tissue slices (TS) were obtained from the neck of 9 nondistended human donor pancreata. The density of the TS was determined using gravity sedimentation in continuous density gradients under either iso-osmolar or hyperosmolar conditions. Correlation coefficients were calculated with regard to the density of isolated exocrine and endocrine tissue, donor age, body mass index (BMI), cold ischemia time (CIT), IEQ prepurification and postpurification, IEQ recovery, and purity. RESULTS: (1) There was no change in density over time for TS in 300 mOsm/kg (mean, 1.079 +/- 0.0019 g/cm(3)) (2) In 500 mOsm/kg, there was a significant increase in density from 1.086 +/- 0.0021 g/cm(3) to 1.092 +/- 0.0021 g/cm(3) over time. (3) Density of isolated exocrine and endocrine became more distinct with lower density of TS (r = -0.776; P < .05). (4) Donor age, BMI, recovery of IEQ from gradients, and number of IEQ after purification did not correlate significantly with TS density. (5) In contrast, a significant inverse correlation existed betwen TS and CIT (r = -0.829; P < .05), and between TS versus IEQ number prior to purification (r = -0.867; P < .05). CONCLUSION: No homogeneous distribution of pancreas tissue density was seen among 9 consecutive human organs. Taken together, the density of native pancreas TS is not a suitable sole predictor for successful islet isolation and purification.

Original publication




Journal article


Transplant Proc

Publication Date





2845 - 2848


Adult, Body Mass Index, Cell Count, Cell Separation, Humans, Ischemia, Islets of Langerhans, Islets of Langerhans Transplantation, Pancreas, Tissue Preservation