Background: Transplantation of beta cells by pancreas or islet transplantation is the treatment of choice for a selected group of patients suffering from type 1 diabetes mellitus. Pancreata are frequently not accepted for transplantation, because of the relatively high vulnerability of these organs to ischemic injury. In this study, we evaluated the effects of hypothermic machine perfusion (HMP) on the quality of human pancreas grafts.
Methods: Five pancreata derived from donation after circulatory death (DCD) and 5 from donation after brain death (DBD) donors were preserved by oxygenated HMP. Hypothermic machine perfusion was performed for 6 hours at 25 mm Hg by separate perfusion of the mesenteric superior artery and the splenic artery. Results were compared with those of 10 pancreata preserved by static cold storage.
Results: During HMP, homogeneous perfusion of the pancreas could be achieved. Adenosine 5'-triphosphate concentration increased 6,8-fold in DCD and 2,6-fold in DBD pancreata. No signs of cellular injury, edema or formation of reactive oxygen species were observed. Islets of Langerhans with good viability and in vitro function could be isolated after HMP.
Conclusions: Oxygenated HMP is a feasible and safe preservation method for the human pancreas that increases tissue viability.