A syngeneic transplantation of 150 islets into the subcapsular renal space was performed on normoglycemic or alloxan-induced diabetic male C57BL/6 mice. Six, 8, 14, or 20–21 wk after transplantation, the graft-bearing kidney was removed and processed for microscopical examinations with indirect immunofluorescence for neuropeptides and tyrosine hydroxylase, and with acetylcholinesterase staining to visualize nerve fibers within the graft. Six weeks after implantation, only a few scattered nerve fibers were observed within the grafts. A progressive increase in the number of nerves was observed until 14 wk after transplantation, after which, a stable level was reached. Alloxan-induced diabetic mice showed quantitatively and qualitatively similar reinnervation to normoglycemic mice 20 wk after transplantation. The findings demonstrate the presence of sympathetic nerve fibers (containing tyrosine hydroxylase and neuropeptide Y), mainly accompanying ingrowing blood vessels; parasympathetic nerve fibers (containing acetylcholinesterase and vasoactive intestinal peptide), possibly reaching the graft from the adjacent renal capsule; and afferent nerve fibers (containing substance P and calcitonin gene-related peptide), which were less numerous. The data suggest that transplanted islets become reinnervated by ingrowth of nerve fibers from the implantation organ and that several types of nerves are present.

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