Morphological and ultrastructural features of human islet grafts performed in diabetic nude mice

Giovanna Finzi, Alberto Davalli, Claudia Placidi, Luciana Usellini, Stefano La Rosa, Franco Folli, Carlo Capella

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Islet transplantation is a new therapeutic approach to type 1 diabetes mellitus. However, in several patients insulin levels are not restored and the glycemic control is inadequate. To clarify the cause of graft failure, the authors investigated with light and electron microscopy some human islet grafts before and after transplantation under the kidney capsule of streptozotocin-induced diabetic nude mice. In isolated islets, both pre- and post-transplantation, the endocrine component was scarcely represented, the β/α cell ratio was reduced, and β cells showed degenerative aspects such as apoptosis, immature secretory granules, and amylin fibrils deposition. The authors conclude that islet graft failure may be due to an insufficent β cell mass related to their distress probably caused by anoxia and/or overstimulation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)525-533
Number of pages9
JournalUltrastructural Pathology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2005


  • Islet transplantation
  • Type 1 diabetes
  • β cells degeneration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Structural Biology


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