Prolonged survival of pancreatic islet allografts implanted in diabetic BB rats was achieved by encapsulation of individual islets in a protective biocompatible alginate-polylysine-alginate membrane without immunosuppression. Intraperitoneal transplantation of the encapsulated islets reversed the diabetic state of the recipients within 3 days and maintained normoglycemia for 190 days. Normal body weight and urine volume were maintained during this period, and no cataracts were detected in the transplant recipients. In contrast, control rats receiving transplants of unencapsulated islets experienced normoglycemia for <2 wk. These results demonstrated that microencapsulation can protect allografted islets from both graft rejection and autoimmune destruction without immunosuppression in an animal model that mimics human insulin-dependent diabetes.

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