Pancreatic islets from adult rats were cultured in artificial capillary culture units that were perfused with nutrient medium. In this in-vitro culture system, islets remain functional for at least 97 days. As determined by insulin radioimmunoassay of the culture medium, islets continue to secrete insulin. Furthermore, islets responded to high glucose concentration in the perifusion medium by increased insulin release throughout the duration of the culture period. A normal appearance of individual epithelioid islet cells and the presence of aldehyde-fuchsin-positive granules were observed in islets fixed in medium. As indicated by the prolonged maintenance of tissue-specific function, the present simple technique for organ culture of intact islets should be useful for providing new information on the long-term effects in vitro of various factors on islet function and a means for the preservation of islets for transplantation.

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