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Beta-cell replacement is the only way to restore euglycaemia in patients with type-1 diabetes. Pancreatic tissue, processed for subsequent clinical islet transplantation, is exposed to ischaemia causing injury and death in a large number of islets before and after transplantation. In this review we summarize what is known on the sources of environmental stress for pancreatic islets, such as insufficient oxygen supply during pancreas procurement and in culture prior to intraportal transplantation, nutritional and oxygen deprivation during the isolation process, and the consequences of hyperglycaemia. An increasingly recognized role in the modulation of beta-cell function and these environmental stress factors plays the vascular network of the pancreatic islets. Islet revascularization by angiogenesis is relevant for the survival of the graft subsequent to transplantation. Potential strategies offered by therapeutic induction of revascularization to ameliorate the detrimental impact of these factors on the quality of islet transplants are discussed.

Original publication




Journal article


Clin Exp Immunol

Publication Date





179 - 187


Apoptosis, Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1, Endothelial Cells, Humans, Hypoxia, Inflammation, Insulin-Secreting Cells, Ischemia, Islets of Langerhans, Islets of Langerhans Transplantation, Necrosis, Neovascularization, Physiologic, Reperfusion Injury