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Journal of Diabetes Research
Volume 2016, Article ID 3615286, 10 pages
Research Article

Impact of Pancreatic Rat Islet Density on Cell Survival during Hypoxia

1UMR DIATHEC, EA 7294, Centre Européen d’Etude du Diabète, Université de Strasbourg, Fédération de Médecine Translationnelle de Strasbourg, Bld René Leriche, 67200 Strasbourg, France
2Defymed, avenue Dante, 67200 Strasbourg, France
3Structure d’Endocrinologie, Diabète-Nutrition et Addictologie, Pôle NUDE, Hôpitaux Universitaires de Strasbourg (HUS), 67000 Strasbourg, France

Received 2 July 2015; Revised 21 September 2015; Accepted 29 September 2015

Academic Editor: Sergiu Catrina

Copyright © 2016 A. Rodriguez-Brotons et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


In bioartificial pancreases (BP), the number of islets needed to restore normoglycaemia in the diabetic patient is critical. However, the confinement of a high quantity of islets in a limited space may impact islet survival, particularly in regard to the low oxygen partial pressure (PO2) in such environments. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the impact of islet number in a confined space under hypoxia on cell survival. Rat islets were seeded at three different concentrations (150, 300, and 600 Islet Equivalents (IEQ)/cm2) and cultured in normal atmospheric pressure (160 mmHg) as well as hypoxic conditions (15 mmHg) for 24 hours. Cell viability, function, hypoxia-induced changes in gene expression, and cytokine secretion were then assessed. Notably, hypoxia appeared to induce a decrease in viability and increasing islet density exacerbated the observed increase in cellular apoptosis as well as the loss of function. These changes were also associated with an increase in inflammatory gene transcription. Taken together, these data indicate that when a high number of islets are confined to a small space under hypoxia, cell viability and function are significantly impacted. Thus, in order to improve islet survival in this environment during transplantation, oxygenation is of critical importance.