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Journal of Diabetes Research
Volume 2016 (2016), Article ID 6162970, 10 pages
Research Article

Continuous Quadrupole Magnetic Separation of Islets during Digestion Improves Purified Porcine Islet Viability

1CMRR, Department of Radiology, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, USA
2Schulze Diabetes Institute, Department of Surgery, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, USA
3Department of Chemical Engineering, Auburn University, Auburn, AL, USA
4Department of Surgery, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, USA
5MobileMedTek Inc., Louisville, KY 40206, USA
6Techshot, Inc., Greenville, IN, USA
7Clinical Islet Cell Laboratory, Cardiovascular Innovation Institute, Department of Surgery, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY 40202, USA

Received 20 February 2016; Revised 23 June 2016; Accepted 11 July 2016

Academic Editor: Reza Abdi

Copyright © 2016 Bradley P. Weegman 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.


Islet transplantation (ITx) is an emerging and promising therapy for patients with uncontrolled type 1 diabetes. The islet isolation and purification processes require exposure to extended cold ischemia, warm-enzymatic digestion, mechanical agitation, and use of damaging chemicals for density gradient separation (DG), all of which reduce viable islet yield. In this paper, we describe initial proof-of-concept studies exploring quadrupole magnetic separation (QMS) of islets as an alternative to DG to reduce exposure to these harsh conditions. Three porcine pancreata were split into two parts, the splenic lobe (SPL) and the combined connecting/duodenal lobes (CDL), for paired digestions and purifications. Islets in the SPL were preferentially labeled using magnetic microparticles (MMPs) that lodge within the islet microvasculature when infused into the pancreas and were continuously separated from the exocrine tissue by QMS during the collection phase of the digestion process. Unlabeled islets from the CDL were purified by conventional DG. Islets purified by QMS exhibited significantly improved viability (measured by oxygen consumption rate per DNA, ) and better morphology relative to control islets. Islet purification by QMS can reduce the detrimental effects of prolonged exposure to toxic enzymes and density gradient solutions and substantially improve islet viability after isolation.