Research Says Pig Cells May Place a Key Role In Treating Diabetes

University of Alabama at Birmingham researchers are investigating methods to wrap pig tissue with a protective coating to finally fight with diabetes in people. The nano-thin bilayers of protective substance are intended to discourage or prevent immune rejection.

The supreme aim: transplant insulin-producing cell-bunches from pigs into people to treat Type 1 diabetes.

"The job also melds fundamental science and engineering with the aim of developing better treatments for diabetes."

"Our cooperation works because we've exactly the same mindset," Kharlampieva said of her cooperation with Tse. "We need to do great science."

Among the main occupations of pancreatic islets is generation of insulin. Those strategies have experienced limited success.

Kharlampieva and Tse have taken another strategy, using a considerably thinner and lighter coating of biomimetic stuff of only five bilayers about 30 nanometers thick. These layers become a physical obstacle that dissipates reactive oxygen species, and in addition they dampen the immune response. The thinness of the layer enables oxygen simple passing and nutrients to the cells.

"We didn't anticipate the multilayers would reveal this kind of big, possible gain," Kharlampieva said of the immunomodulation revealed by the bilayers.

The Tsekharlampieva cooperation got its beginning from attempts to solve an issue in an UAB service to supply national research workers with islets — the islets ceased secreting insulin during the three to five days of transport or frequently expired. Kharlampieva was inquired whether her bilayers might shield the islets and maintain functionality and viability.

Among the layers, tannic acid, is a polyphenol that can scavenge harmful free radicals. Tse — who examines how oxidative stress leads to islet dysfunction and autoimmune reactions wondered whether the ability of tannic acid might help reduce autoimmune dysregulation.

In collaborative research over greater than five years, the UAB researchers demonstrated the response was yes.

In a 2012 Advanced Functional Materials paper, Kharlampieva, Tse and co-workers discovered that:

The bilayers, like tannic acid, were able to wrap easily around various mammalian pancreatic islets, and high chemical equilibrium was kept by them

Hollow casings of the bilayers curbed synthesis of the proinflammatory cytokines IL12p70 by stimulated macrophages and interferon- γ by stimulated T cells

In a 2014 Innovative Health Care Substances paper, the researchers further analyzed the immunomodulatory effect of the hydrogen-bonded multilayers, in the kind of hollow shells. They demonstrated the bilayer shells have:

As presented by the dissipation of proinflammatory reactive oxygen and nitrogen species antioxidant properties

Another step for the UAB research workers is in vivo testing of xeno- and allotransplantation to see if risk of graft rejection has reduced, while restoring control of blood sugar. Xenotransplantation is transplanting to another, and allotransplantation is transplanting to an alternative member of precisely the same species from one member of a species.

In vivo demonstration grant, in an one-year, the UAB researchers found that nano-coated mouse islets worked and lived as long as 40 days in diabetic mice that lack functioning immune systems. "We demonstrated that they do remain living, and they work to modulate blood glucose," Tse said at diabetes forum.

Now Kharlampieva and Tse, supported by two JDRF grants that are new, are examining functioning and the survival of nano-coated islets from pigs or mice .

"They're the leader in islet transplantation and developed the Edmonton Protocol for new immunosuppression," Tse said.

Pig islets — in contrast to tight supplies of human islets — offer an endless way to obtain insulin-producing tissue. Full research article can be found at diabetes forums

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