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A histological study of intrasplenic transplanted neonatal rat pancreas and of adjacent adipose tissue proliferation

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Proliferation of adipose tissue adjacent to intrasplenic transplants of whole isogeneic neonatal rat pancreas has consistently been noted. In this study over a period of 18 months there was a progressive increase in the amount of fatty tissue in the vicinity of surviving transplants. Immunohistochemistry demonstrated the presence of insulin, glucagon, somatostatin and pancreatic polypeptide within islet cells in long term grafts. Electron microscopy demonstrated a close association between islets and lipid droplets. Ductal elements within the transplants survived and showed close association with endocrine cells, but exocrine pancreatic tissue degenerated rapidly. Radioimmunoassay of extracts from surviving transplants in isogeneic rats confirmed the presence of high levels of insulin and glucagon after transplantation. In contrast, allogeneic intrasplenic transplants of rat pancreas failed to survive and showed no evidence of adipose tissue proliferation. Furthermore, isogeneic intrasplenic transplants of both adult rat fat and adrenal gland also failed to demonstrate adipocyte proliferation. It would appear that the presence of both adipocytes and pancreatic endocrine cells, particularly B cells, are required for the proliferation of adipocytes at the graft site.


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Banks, I.G., Sloan, J.M. & Buchanan, K.D. A histological study of intrasplenic transplanted neonatal rat pancreas and of adjacent adipose tissue proliferation. Diabetologia 22, 128–133 (1982). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00254842

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Key words

  • Intrasplenic rat pancreas transplantation
  • insulin
  • glucagon
  • adipose tissue