This article describes the localization of intact insulin-containing intrahepatic islets after combined liver-islet allotransplantation. The patient was a 36-year-old woman who underwent upper abdominal exenteration for neuroendocrine carcinoma; 289,000 islets were transplanted via portal vein infusion immediately after complete revascularization of the liver. Immunosuppression was with low-dose FK-506. OKT3 and steroids were used to treat one rejection episode 2 weeks after transplantation, but the patient subsequently developed multiple infections and died 109 days after transplantation. At autopsy, the transplanted liver did not show any sign of rejection and well-preserved islets were present in portal triads sampled from the anterior inferior edge of the right lobe. Immunohistochemical labeling confirmed the presence of insulin-containing cells. This finding indicated that human islets can survive after intrahepatic allotransplantation, despite positive cross-match with no HLA antigen match, suggesting that upper abdominal exenteration and liver transplantation may constitute a protective factor for the survival of allogeneic human islets.
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