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BACKGROUND: Clinical and experimental data indicate that early failure of intraportally grafted islets is mediated by inflammation. Although nicotinamide (NA) has the potential to protect rodent islets it is unknown whether large mammalian islets can be protected in an inflammatory environment. Therefore, we investigated NA-mediated protection of pig islets intraportally transplanted into diabetic nude rats characterized by involvement of NO in intrahepatic graft failure. METHODS: Nonfasting serum glucose levels were evaluated after intraportal transplantation (TX) of 4000 pig islets or intraportal sham-TX in diabetic nude rats infused for 7 days with saline (0 mg), 500 mg, or 1000 mg NA/kg/day. The nitrate/nitrite serum levels were colorimetrically quantified 0, 24, and 48 hr posttransplant. RESULTS: Graft survival after 21 days was not improved (2/13) by 500 mg NA compared to 0 mg NA (1/22) and 500 mg sham-TX (0/7). A total of 1000 mg NA promoted sustained normoglycemia in transplanted rats (10/18, P<0.001 vs. 0 mg NA, P<0.05 vs. 500 mg NA) but deteriorated hyperglycemia in 1000 mg NA sham-TX (P<0.01 vs. 0 mg sham-TX). Regeneration of endogenous islets determined as pancreatic insulin content was only measured in islet recipients receiving 1000 mg NA (P<0.001). Posttransplant NO levels were not affected by NA and increased in all recipients two-fold (P<0.05 vs. day 0). CONCLUSIONS: Compared with efficient administration in syngeneic rodent models NA has to be applied in significant higher doses for protection of xenografted pig islets implying that protection of islets from large mammalians after transplantation into a proinflammatory organ seems feasible. In contrast to other observations graft survival was not mediated by interference of NA with hepatic NO generation.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





74 - 79


Animals, Blood Glucose, Dose-Response Relationship, Drug, Graft Survival, Homozygote, Insulin, Insulin Secretion, Islets of Langerhans, Islets of Langerhans Transplantation, Niacinamide, Nitrates, Nitrites, Rats, Rats, Nude, Swine, Time Factors, Transplantation, Heterologous