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Research in transplantation of insulin-producing tissues

Research in transplantation of insulin-producing tissues

Head of the research programme: Prof. MUDr. František Saudek, DrSc.

Research focused on transplantation of the insulin-producing tissue is carried out by doctors of the Diabetology Department in cooperation with the Laboratory of the Islets of Langerhans. The work of the entire research team is focused on seeking an alternative place for transplantation of the islets and on seeking a suitable cell line as the source of the insulin-producing tissue. The design of a unique imaging method of the islets after their transplantation in the liver using magnetic resonance imaging has been the greatest success achieved worldwide. In cooperation with the magnetic Resonance Imaging Division of IKEM, this procedure was tested in the experimental setting, and given its simplicity, it was virtually immediately successfully introduced into clinical practice. (Figure 1)

Routinely used techniques include:

  • Isolation of the islets of Langerhans from rat, mouse and human pancreata (Figure 2)

  • Placement of the islets in a tissue culture

  • Inspection of the islets quality – viability, oxygen consumption, membrane integrity (Figure 3)

  • Transplantation of the islets in the portal vein of the liver, renal subcapsule or in an artificial cavity (Figure 4)

  • Imaging of the transplanted cells using magnetic resonance and bioluminescence imaging


Currently, the following projects are running:

  • Optimisation of cell transdifferentiation techniques using transcription factors

  • Development of an automatic system for islet quantification

  • Optimisation of the culture medium to enhance the quality of islets for transplantation

  • Study of liver tissue response to the transplanted islets

  • Influencing of islet properties after their transplantation using siRNA

  • Development of an alternative subcutaneous cavity for the transplantation of cells


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