Transplant Drug Impairs Islet Function in Mice

Islets have impaired glucose-stimulated insulin secretion

FRIDAY, Sept. 22 (HealthDay News) -- Sirolimus is often used to prevent rejection of transplanted pancreatic islets, but a new study suggests that it may impair beta-cell function and hinder glucose-stimulated insulin secretion. The research, which was conducted in diabetic mice, is published in the September issue of Diabetes.

H. Henry Dong, Ph.D., from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, and colleagues transplanted 250 islets under the renal capsule in diabetic mice, treated the mice with sirolimus or vehicle for 14 days, then removed the islets 30 days after transplantation to evaluate insulin content and vascular density.

The researchers found that islets from the sirolimus-treated mice had a lower insulin content and decreased vascular density, which were associated with impaired blood glucose profiles and lower glucose-stimulated insulin secretion. These mice also had higher rates of dyslipidemia, according to the study.

"These data suggest that sirolimus, administered in the early post-transplantation phase, is a confounding factor for reduced islet engraftment and impaired beta-cell function in transplants," Dong and colleagues conclude.

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