Tissue-engineering approaches in pancreatic islet transplantation

Biotechnol Bioeng. 2018 Dec;115(12):3009-3029. doi: 10.1002/bit.26821. Epub 2018 Sep 25.


Pancreatic islet transplantation is a promising alternative to whole-pancreas transplantation as a treatment of type 1 diabetes mellitus. This technique has been extensively developed during the past few years, with the main purpose of minimizing the complications arising from the standard protocols used in organ transplantation. By using a variety of strategies used in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine, pancreatic islets have been successfully introduced in host patients with different outcomes in terms of islet survival and functionality, as well as the desired normoglycemic control. Here, we describe and discuss those strategies to transplant islets together with different scaffolds, in combination with various cell types and diffusible factors, and always with the aim of reducing host immune response and achieving islet survival, regardless of the site of transplantation.

Keywords: biomaterials; islet transplantation; tissue engineering; type 1 diabetes.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / surgery
  • Humans
  • Islets of Langerhans Transplantation*
  • Mice
  • Tissue Engineering*
  • Tissue Scaffolds