Curr Diab Rep 2013 Oct;13(5):745-55
Although islet transplantation has demonstrated its potential use in treating type 1 diabetes, this remains limited by the need for daily immunosuppression. Islet encapsulation was then proposed with a view to avoiding any immunosuppressive regimen and related side effects. In order to obtain a standard clinical procedure in terms of safety and reproducibility, two important factors have to be taken into account: the encapsulation design (which determines the graft volume) and the implantation site. Indeed, the implantation site should meet certain requirements: (1) its space must be large enough for the volume of transplanted tissues; (2) there must be proximity to abundant vascularization with a good oxygen supply; (3) there must be real-time access to physiologically representative blood glucose levels; (4) there must be easy access for implantation and the reversibility of the procedure (for safety); and finally, (5) the site should have minimal early inflammatory reaction and promote long-term survival. The aim of this article is to review possible preclinical/clinical implantation sites (in comparison with free islets) for encapsulated islet transplantation as a function of the encapsulation design: macro/microcapsules and conformal coating.