Standardization of a technic for isolating large numbers of pancreatic islets is described. This procedure employed collagenase digestion of rat pancreatic tissue in a cylindrical wire screen in order to separate isolated islets from undigested pancreas. From this basic protocol the following conditions were established: (1) the duration of the initial digestion period was found to be optimal at six minutes; (2) three subsequent digestions of one minute each effected maximum islet yield; (3) the optimal initial collagenase concentration was found to be 1,000 U. (Worthington)/ml.; and (4) proper reductions of collagenase concentrations during the three subsequent digestions were found to be 50 per cent of each preceding incubation period. This method, combined with Ficoll gradient separation, yielded a mean of 800 islets per two rat pancreases. The isolated islets appeared morphologically intact, contained 0.36 ± 0.05 μg. protein/islet, and demonstrated a normal biphasic release of insulin in response to stimulative levels of D-glucose. The present method provides a means for obtaining a large mass of viable islet cell tissue in a short time.

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