The insulin release from isolated pancreatic islets grafted under the kidney capsule was examined by means of a modified kidney-perfusion technique. The grafts, consisting of 150 C57BL/6 or 250 C57BL/Ks mouse islets, were implanted syngeneically under the left kidney capsule of normoglycemic or alloxan-induced diabetic recipients 4 wk before the perfusion. In both mouse strains, islets grafted to normoglycemic animals showed an immediate distinct peak of insulin release when challenged with high glucose, whereas no response was observed from islets grafted to hyperglycemic mice. In a similar way in C57BL/KS mice, arginine stimulated insulin release from the islet grafts in normoglycemic but not in hyperglycemic recipients. Insulin treatment of the diabetic recipients, however, partially normalized the insulin response to glucose. Islet grafts were removed in toto and analyzed for contents of insulin, glucagon, somatostatin, and DNA or rates of glucose-stimulated (pro)insulin biosynthesis. In both mouse strains, islets implanted into hyperglycemic animals contained significantly less insulin, and their rates of (pro)insulin biosynthesis were markedly decreased. Insulin treatment only marginally affected these parameters. The glucagon content of the grafted islets was unaffected by the hyperglycemia in both strains of mice, whereas a significant decrease in the somatostatin content was observed in the C57BL/Ks mice. We concluded that grafted islets exposed to prolonged hyperglycemic stress become functionally impaired in mice of both strains. Our perfusion technique of islet-graft-bearing kidneys in combination with biochemical studies on the removed grafts provides a suitable model for studies of the effects of prolonged hyperglycemia on islet β-cell function

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