Macroencapsulation of islets of Langerhans is a promising strategy for transplantation of insulin-producing cells in the absence of immunosuppression to treat type 1 diabetes. Hollow fiber membranes are of interest there because they offer a large surface-to-volume ratio and can potentially be retrieved or refilled. However, current available fibers have limitations in exchange of nutrients, oxygen, and delivery of insulin potentially impacting graft survival. Here, multibore hollow fibers for islets encapsulation are designed and tested. They consist of seven bores and are prepared using nondegradable polymers with high mechanical stability and low cell adhesion properties. Human islets encapsulated there have a glucose induced insulin response (GIIS) similar to nonencapsulated islets. During 7 d of cell culture in vitro, the GIIS increases with graded doses of islets demonstrating the suitability of the microenvironment for islet survival. Moreover, first implantation studies in mice demonstrate device material biocompatibility with minimal tissue responses. Besides, formation of new blood vessels close to the implanted device is observed, an important requirement for maintaining islet viability and fast exchange of glucose and insulin. The results indicate that the developed fibers have high islet bearing capacity and can potentially be applied for a clinically applicable bioartificial pancreas.
- hollow fibers