Improved glucose regulation on a low carbohydrate diet in diabetic rats transplanted with macroencapsulated porcine islets
Diabetes Mellitus, Experimental
Islets of Langerhans Transplantation
Islet xenografts from porcine donors can reverse diabetes in experimental animal models and may be an alternative to human islet transplantation. We have recently reported the ability of porcine islets encapsulated in a double layer of hydrophilic agarose to maintain in vitro functional ability for >6 months. Although beta-cells are capable of adapting their secretory capacity in response to glucose levels, evidence has shown that prolonged hyperglycemia can compromise this ability. The aim of the present study was to determine the effects of diet manipulation on the long-term regulation of blood glucose levels, and the preservation of functional islet in the macrobeads. Twenty-one streptozotocin-induced diabetic Wistar-Furth male rats were randomly assigned to two diets containing 64% carbohydrate (CHO) or 20% CHO. Groups of five to six animals assigned to either diet were implanted with either empty (EM) or porcine islet-containing macrobeads (PIM) and followed for 333 days. Observations included general condition, body weight, blood glucose, and food and water intakes. Monthly blood samples were collected for insulin and C-peptide analysis. The 20% CHO diet significantly lowered blood glucose values when compared with those of the 64% CHO groups for both the empty (14.94 +/- 0.41 vs. 16.26 +/- 0.42 mmol/L, respectively, p < 0.001) and islet macrobead recipients (12.88 +/- 0.39 vs. 15.57 +/-0.85 mmol/L, respectively, p <0.001). The different diets, however, had no statistically significant effects on the preservation of islet mass in the macrobead. Serum porcine C-peptide was detected throughout the experiment in animals receiving porcine islet macrobeads, regardless of diet. Diabetic rats fed a low carbohydrate level diet and transplanted with porcine islet macrobeads had improved total tissue glucose disposal and improved clinical parameters associated with diabetes.