In clinical islet transplantation to patients with type 1 diabetes mellitus, the number of isolated and purified islet has been identified as a key determinant for functional success of the islet graft. With improved isolation methods based on the original procedure published by Ricordi et al. yield and function of isolated islets were considerably enhanced. However, there is still a large variance in the number, purity, viability and secretory capacity of islets isolated from brain-dead human donor pancreata, significantly hampering utilization of human islet preparations derived from a single donor for one diabetic recipient. The reasons for the limited success in islet isolation and purification have not been clarified in detail yet. Recent studies have indicated, that donor preconditions, and a number of technical factors during organ procurement and the islet isolation process itself are critical to successful islet isolation. This study aimed at identifying distinct morphological and histopathological characteristics of the donor pancreas as determinants for the outcome of human islet isolation and purification.