Islet transplantation is a promising treatment for type 1 diabetes. However, even with the many successes, islet transplantation has yet to reach its full potential. Limited islet sources, loss of cell viability during isolation and culture, and post-transplant graft loss are a few of the issues preventing extensive use of islet transplantation. The application of biomaterial systems to alleviate some of the stresses affecting islet viability has led to improvements in isolation and transplantation outcomes, but problems persist. In this work we approach two distinct issues affecting islet viability; ischemic conditions and immunological attack post-transplant. Ischemic conditions have been linked to a loss of islet graft function and occur during organ preservation, islet isolation and culture, and after islets are transplanted. We show that liposomal delivery of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) toβ cells can limit cell death and loss of function in ischemic conditions. We demonstrate that by functionalizing liposomes with the fibronectin-mimetic peptide PR_b, delivery of liposomes to porcine islets and rat β cells is increased compared to nontargeted controls. Additionally, liposomes are shown to protect by providing both ATP and lipids to the ischemic cells. The delivery of ATP was investigated here but application of PR_b functionalized liposomes could be extended to other interesting cargos as well. The second area of investigation involves encapsulation of islets with silica nanoparticles to create a permselective barrier. Silica nanoparticles are an interesting material for encapsulation given their ability to be fine-tuned and further functionalized. We demonstrate that size-tunable, fluorescent silica nanoparticles can be assembled layer-by-layer on the surface of cells and that silica nanoparticle encapsulated islets are able to secrete insulin in response to a glucose challenge.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. November 2013. Major: Biomedical Engineering. Advisor: Efrosini Kokkoli. 1 computer file (PDF); xi, 180 pages.
Atchison, Nicole Ann..
Nanomaterial solutions for the protection of insulin producing beta cells.
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