A method is described in which the viability of isolated adult human islets of Langerhans can be assessed in vivo. The Rowett nude rat, made diabetic with streptozocin (STZ), has been used as the islet recipient in these studies. Although these animals are athymic and are able to accept xenogeneic grafts for prolonged periods, they are very susceptible to dehydration and infection oncemade diabetic. Therefore, a considerably shortened diabetes induction period was used. The basis of the study was to prepare pure adult human pancreatic islets that were cultured for 48 h. Nude rats were given 80 mg/kg i.v. STZ during islet isolation and were transplanted with 800–1000 islets under the renal capsule at 48 h. To monitor islet function, animals were bled regularly for random blood glucose measurements and were given a glucose tolerance test at day 20. The kidney containing the graft was removed on day 21 to allow histological assessment of the graft and to confirm that glucose control was due to the transplanted islets and was not secondary to reversion of the animal's own islets. Seven rats were transplanted, and five were deemed to have received viable human islets. Two rats that received islets from the same donor did not reverse their diabetes and were found by histology to have vacuolated islet structures with scant insulin-staining tissue under the kidney capsule. This method allows a definitive judgment of the ability of isolated adult human islets to reverse diabetes.

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