Successful human islet isolation and transplantation indicating the importance of class 1 collagenase and collagen degradation activity assay

Transplantation. 2010 Apr 27;89(8):954-61. doi: 10.1097/TP.0b013e3181d21e9a.


Background: Purified tissue dissociation enzymes (TDEs) are critical to successful human islet isolation required for clinical transplantation, but little is known about the characteristics of the key enzymes-class I (C1) and class II (C2) collagenase from Clostridium histolyticum-used in these procedures. Here, we show the differences between the C1 collagenase found in purified collagenase products manufactured by three suppliers and the impact of differences in C1 between two suppliers on human islet yield.

Methods: Collagenase from Roche, Serva/Nordmark (Uetersen, Germany), and VitaCyte (Indianapolis, IN) were analyzed by analytical high-performance liquid chromatography and collagen degradation activity (CDA), an assay that preferentially detects intact C1 collagenase. Human islet isolations were performed using current standard practices.

Results: These studies showed that the highest amount of intact C1 that correlated with a high specific CDA (CDA unit per milligram of protein). The highest specific CDA was found in VitaCyte product followed by the Roche and Serva/Nordmark products. The products of VitaCyte were used successfully for human islet isolation (n=14) with an average final islet yield obtained was 419,100+/-150,900 islet equivalent number (IEQ) (4147+/-1759 IEQ/g pancreas). Four of these preparations were used successfully in clinical transplantation procedures. These TDEs gave significantly better results when compared with earlier data where 27 isolations were performed using Serva NB1 collagenase and NB neutral protease where the final islet yield was 217,500+/-152,400 IEQ (2134+/-1524 IEQ/g pancreas).

Conclusions: These data indicate the importance of intact C1 and the use of the appropriate analytical assays to correlate biochemical characteristics of TDEs to islet quality and yield.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Anion Exchange Resins
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Chromatography, Ion Exchange
  • Clostridium histolyticum / enzymology*
  • Collagen / metabolism*
  • Collagenases / isolation & purification
  • Collagenases / metabolism*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / surgery*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Islets of Langerhans Transplantation / methods*
  • Islets of Langerhans Transplantation / standards
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Nude
  • Microbial Collagenase / isolation & purification
  • Microbial Collagenase / metabolism*
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Tissue Culture Techniques
  • Tissue and Organ Harvesting* / standards


  • Anion Exchange Resins
  • Collagen
  • Collagenases
  • collagenase 1
  • Microbial Collagenase