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Antioxidant protects islet cells used in transplants for diabetes

ed to transplant the cells immediately after they have been isolated. This prevents physicians from taking several steps that could improve the likelihood of a successful transplant.

Isolation of the islet cells from the pancreas stresses them, leading to inflammation and islet-cell death. Highly reactive free-radical molecules contribute to this stress. Dr. Piganelli and his colleagues reasoned that an antioxidant compound might help islet cells survive and improve transplant success by neutralizing the free radicals.

The researchers used two synthetic antioxidants developed several years earlier by Dr. James Crapo, M.D., Chairman of the Department of Medicine at National Jewish, and his colleagues. The antioxidants, dubbed AEOL10113 and AEOL10150, mimic the naturally occurring antioxidant superoxide dismutase, but are effective against a wider range of oxygen radicals and last longer in the body. Now licensed by Incara Pharmaceuticals Corporation, they have shown promise in preventing damage to cells caused by stroke and radiation therapy for cancer. Earlier this year, Dr. Piganelli and his colleagues showed that the antioxidants could prevent the development of type 1 diabetes in mice when given T cells that normally causes the disease.

"We are excited that these synthetic antioxidants are protecting cells in such a wide range of hazardous conditions," said Dr. Crapo.

Islet-cell loss was cut in half over a six-day period, from 60% to 30%, when the antioxidants were applied during isolation of the islet cells. The antioxidants also improved the effectiveness of the islet-cell transplants. When large amounts of islet cells (700-1,000 islet equivalents) were transplanted into six diabetic mice, all the animals became healthy. But when smaller amounts of islet cells (200-220 islet equivalents) were transplanted into nine diabetic mice, half the mice who got untreated islet cells remained diabetic while all the animals with antioxidant
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Contact: William Allstetter
allstetterw@njc.org
303-398-1002
National Jewish Medical and Research Center
26-Jul-2002


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