beta-Cell specific cytoprotection by prolactin on human islets

Transplant Proc. 2008 Mar;40(2):382-3. doi: 10.1016/j.transproceed.2008.01.009.


Introduction: Many cytoprotective agents have been reported to improve islet isolation and transplantation outcomes. However, several of these agents improve all cell subsets within an islet preparation; selection of non-beta-cell components (eg, acinar cells) may have a negative effect on beta-cell function and survival. In this study, we examined the effect of prolactin (PRL) supplementation in the culture medium to determine whether it exerted beta-cell-selective cytoprotection on islet viability and function.

Materials and methods: Human islets were precultured with or without recombinant human PRL (500 microg/L) for 48 hours. The fractional viability and cellular composition of non-beta-cell and beta-cell-specific components were assessed using FACS and Laser Scanning Cytometry (LSC). Islet potency was assessed in vivo by transplantation into chemically induced diabetic immunodeficient mice.

Results: The relative viable beta-cell mass and the relative islet beta-cell content in the PRL group were 28% higher (P = .018) and 19% higher (P = .029) than the control group, respectively. All transplanted mice achieved normoglycemia in both groups, indicating that PRL treatment did not alter islet function.

Conclusion: PRL treatment improved beta-cell-specific viability and survival of human islets in vitro. The development of novel beta-cell-specific cytoprotective strategies may be of assistance in improving islet transplantation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Culture Techniques
  • Cell Survival / drug effects*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Experimental / surgery*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Humans
  • Insulin-Secreting Cells / cytology*
  • Insulin-Secreting Cells / drug effects
  • Insulin-Secreting Cells / transplantation
  • Islets of Langerhans Transplantation
  • Mice
  • Mice, Nude
  • Prolactin / pharmacology*


  • Prolactin