Islet transplantation is emerging as a promising treatment for patients with type 1 diabetes. It is important to maximize viable islet yield for each organ due to scarcity of suitable human donor pancreata, high cost, and the large dose of islets required for insulin independence. However, organ transport for 8 hours using the two-layer method (TLM) frequently results in low islet yields. Since efficient oxygenation of the core of larger organs (eg, pig, human) in TLM has recently come under question, we investigated oxygen persufflation as an alternative way to supply the pancreas with oxygen during preservation. Porcine pancreata were procured from donors after cardiac death and preserved by either TLM or persufflation for 24 hours and subsequently fixed. Biopsies collected from several regions of the pancreas were sectioned, stained with hematoxylin and eosin, and evaluated by a histologist. Persufflated tissues exhibited distended capillaries and significantly less autolysis/cell death relative to regions not exposed to persufflation or to tissues preserved with TLM. The histology presented here suggests that after 24 hours of preservation, persufflation dramatically improves tissue health when compared with TLM. These results indicate the potential for persufflation to improve viable islet yields and extend the duration of preservation, allowing more donor organs to be utilized.
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