Background: Recent advances in the fields of islet transplantation and in vitro islet cell expansion place a renewed emphasis on the optimization of islet isolation from cadaveric human donor organs. We retrospectively analyzed 171 islet isolations to identify variables that predict islet yield and isolation success.
Methods: Cadaveric human donor pancreata were procured and processed according to established protocols. Donor-, procurement-, and isolation-related variables were analyzed for correlation with islet yield and isolation success (> or =250,000 islet equivalents).
Results: Univariate analysis suggested correlations between islet yield and donor age (P<0.005), body surface area (P<0.005), duration of enzymatic digestion (P<0.001), and pancreatic beta-cell volume (P<0.05). Donor sex (P<0.01), procurement team (P<0.05), and peridigestion serine protease inhibition (P<0.05) affected islet yield, whereas enzyme lot (P<0.01) and pancreatic fatty infiltration (P<0.05) influenced isolation success. By logistic regression, donor sex and age, and duration of enzymatic digestion could predict a successful isolation with 72% accuracy. The use of Liberase CI improved islet yield (P<0.05) in young donors (< or =25 years).
Conclusions: While donor-related variables are useful in predicting islet yield, these are likely surrogates for pancreatic beta-cell volume. Enzyme lot, and the associated duration of enzymatic digestion (P<0.05), appears to be key determinants of isolation success.