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Graft, Vol. 5, No. 5, 266-276 (2002)
DOI: 10.1177/1522162802005005001
© 2002 SAGE Publications

Cryopreservation of Human Pancreatic Islets

Jonathan R. T. Lakey

Philip W. Burridge

Ray V. Rajotte

Islet transplantation has the potential to permanently restore glucose homeostasis intype 1 diabetics, thereby eliminating insulin injections and possibly even reversing neurovascularcomplications and preventing end-stage organ failure. The severe shortageof human pancreata and the inability to consistently isolate large numbers of healthyislets have made it necessary to pool islets from several donors. Cryopreservation iscost-effective, is less labor-intensive, minimizes the chance of microbial contamination,and requires less storage space. It allows time to find the best tissue match while ensuringstrict quality control. Frozen tissue stored in liquid nitrogen is easy to transport.The freeze-thaw procedures improve the purification of the islets. Cryopreservation alsohas a uniquely positive feature in that it modifies how the donor islets will respond whentransplanted into the hostile immune environment of an unrelated recipient. But the mostcompelling reason for using cryopreservation is that transplant centers can store isletcells indefinitely.

Key Words: Islet transplantation • Type 1 diabetes • cryopreservation

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