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BACKGROUND: Islet release from the pancreas is mediated by both collagenase and neutral protease (NP), a critical effector of islet integrity. To prove the hypothesis that adjustment of NP reduces islet damage after prolonged ischemia, adult pig pancreata were digested after 7-hour preservation by the two-layer method (TLM) using a 2-component enzyme blend consisting of collagenase NB-8 and NP. METHODS: After intraductal University of Wisconsin (UW) flush resected pancreata were distended with 4.4 PZ-U/g of UW-dissolved Serva collagenase either before (TLM-preloaded, n = 7) or after (TLM-postloaded, n = 10) cold storage, or for immediate processing (n = 6). NP was adjusted after preliminary experiments to respectively 1.1, 0.2, or 0.8 DMC-U/g for unstored, TLM-preloaded, or postloaded organs. RESULTS: Purified islet yield decreased from 3670 +/- 730 islet equivalents (IEQ)/g in unstored pancreata to 1800 +/- 180 and 2080 +/- 290 IEQ/g in TLM-preloaded or postloaded organs, respectively (P < .05). Although purity was always >90%, IEQ recovery was significantly decreased in TLM-preloaded pancreata. Quality control revealed consistently high viability as determined using trypan-blue exclusion (>95%) or formazan production. Compared with unstored organs (2.47 +/- 0.36; P < .05), glucose stimulation index was reduced in TLM-preloaded (1.48 +/- 0.15) and TLM-postloaded pancreata (1.81 +/- 0.20). Normoglycemia in diabetic nude mice transplanted with islets from TLM-preloaded pancreata was transient in contrast to sustained function in the other groups. CONCLUSIONS: Significant amounts of viable pig islets can be isolated after prolonged TLM preservation by reducing NP activity. Nevertheless, early enzyme administration prior to long-term storage deteriorates islet graft function.

Original publication




Journal article


Transplant Proc

Publication Date





458 - 459


Adenosine, Allopurinol, Animals, Collagenases, Endopeptidases, Glutathione, Insulin, Islets of Langerhans, Organ Preservation, Organ Preservation Solutions, Pancreas, Raffinose, Swine