Revascularization and microcirculation of freely grafted islets of Langerhans

World J Surg. 2001 Apr;25(4):509-15. doi: 10.1007/s002680020345. Epub 2001 Apr 11.


A considerable number of experimental studies have demonstrated that the reestablishment of an appropriate microvascular supply is an essential prerequisite for successful pancreatic islet transplantation. Freely transplanted islets show the first signs of angiogenesis (i.e., capillary sprout formation and protrusion) as early as 2 days after transplantation, and the entire vascularization process is completed after 10 to 14 days. Cryopreservation and culture of the isolated islets before transplantation and hyperglycemia of the transplant recipient seem not to affect the vascularization process essentially. In addition, immunosuppressive drugs, such as cyclosporin A and 15-deoxyspergualin, do not or only slightly inhibit revascularization of syngeneic islets; however, they are not able to prevent completely xenograft-induced microvascular perfusion failure. In contrast, novel immunosuppressants (e.g., RS-61443) or dietary supplementation of the antioxidant vitamin E were shown to prevent microvascular graft rejection almost completely, including leukocyte recruitment and capillary perfusion failure. Thus the development of novel strategies to improve posttransplant islet function should include concepts that accelerate the vascularization process and protect the newly formed microvasculature from rejection-mediated injury. The improvement of islet graft vascularization and the maintenance of adequate microvascular perfusion will contribute to the increased success of pancreatic islet transplantation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cryopreservation
  • Graft Rejection
  • Humans
  • Hyperglycemia / physiopathology
  • Immunosuppression
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / therapeutic use
  • Islets of Langerhans Transplantation / immunology
  • Islets of Langerhans Transplantation / physiology*
  • Microcirculation
  • Neovascularization, Physiologic


  • Immunosuppressive Agents