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BACKGROUND: Accurate islet quantification has proven difficult to standardize in a good manufacturing practices (GMP) approved manner. METHODS: The influence of assessment variables from both manual and computer-assisted digital image analysis (DIA) methods were compared using calibrated, standardized microspheres or islets alone. Additionally, a mixture of microspheres and exocrine tissue was used to evaluate the variability of both the current, internationally recognized, manual method and a novel GMP-friendly purity- and volume-based method (PV) evaluated by DIA in a semiclosed, culture bag system. RESULTS: Computer-assisted DIA recorded known microsphere size distribution and quantities accurately. By using DIA to evaluate islets, the interindividual manually evaluated percent coefficients of variation (CV%; n=14) were reduced by almost half for both islet equivalents (IEs; 31% vs. 17%, P=0.002) and purity (20% vs. 13%, P=0.033). The microsphere pool mixed with exocrine tissue did not differ from expected IE with either method. However, manual IE resulted in a total CV% of 44.3% and a range spanning 258 k IE, whereas PV resulted in CV% of 10.7% and range of 60 k IE. Purity CV% for each method were similar approximating 10.5% and differed from expected by +7% for the manual method and +3% for PV. CONCLUSION: The variability of standard counting methods for islet samples and clinical quantities of microspheres mixed with exocrine tissue were reduced with DIA. They were reduced even further by use of a semiclosed bag system compared with standard manual counting, thereby facilitating the standardization of islet evaluation according to GMP standards.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





677 - 683


Calibration, Cell Size, Humans, Image Processing, Computer-Assisted, Islets of Langerhans, Islets of Langerhans Transplantation, Microspheres, Reproducibility of Results