Coculturing Human Islets with Proangiogenic Support Cells to Improve Islet Revascularization at the Subcutaneous Transplantation Site

Mijke Buitinga, Karolina Janeczek Portalska, Dirk-Jan Cornelissen, Jacqueline Plass, Maaike Hanegraaf, Françoise Carlotti, Eelco de Koning, Marten Engelse, Clemens van Blitterswijk, Marcel Karperien, Aart van Apeldoorn, Jan de Boer

Research output: Contribution to journal/periodicalArticleScientificpeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


While subcutaneous tissue has been proposed as a clinically relevant site for pancreatic islet transplantation, a major issue of concern remains, which is its poor vascular state. In an effort to overcome this limitation, we present an efficient and reproducible method to form human composite islets (CIs) with proangiogenic cell types in a controlled manner using nonadherent agarose microwell templates. In this study, we assessed the three-dimensional structure, function, and angiogenic potential of human CIs with human mesenchymal stromal cells (hMSCs), with or without human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs), and preconditioned hMSCs (PC-hMSCs) in EGM-2 under shear stress. Distinct cellular rearrangements could be observed in CIs, but islet functionality was maintained. In vitro angiogenesis assays found significantly enhanced sprout formation in case of CIs. In particular, the number of sprouts emanating from CIs with PC-hMSCs was significantly increased compared to other conditions. Subsequent in vivo assessment confirmed the proangiogenic potential of CIs. However, in contrast to our in vitro angiogenesis assays, CIs with hMSCs and HUVECs exhibited a higher in vivo angiogenic potential compared to control islets or islets combined with hMSCs or PC-hMSCs. These findings highlight the importance and necessity of verifying in vitro studies with in vivo models to reliably predict, in this case, revascularization outcomes. Regardless, we demonstrate here the therapeutic potential of CIs with proangiogenic support cells to enhance islet revascularization at a clinically relevant, although poorly vascularized, transplantation site.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)375-85
Number of pages11
JournalTissue engineering. Part A
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2016


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