The impact of cell surface PEGylation and short-course immunotherapy on islet graft survival in an allogeneic murine model

Jaime A. Giraldo, R. Damaris Molano, Hernán R. Rengifo, Carmen Fotino, Kerim M. Gattás-Asfura, Antonello Pileggi, Cherie L. Stabler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Islet transplantation is a promising therapy for Type 1 diabetes mellitus; however, host inflammatory and immune responses lead to islet dysfunction and destruction, despite potent systemic immunosuppression. Grafting of poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) to the periphery of cells or tissues can mitigate inflammation and immune recognition via generation of a steric barrier. Herein, we sought to evaluate the complementary impact of islet PEGylation with a short-course immunotherapy on the survival of fully-MHC mismatched islet allografts (DBA/2 islets into diabetic C57BL/6J recipients). Anti-Lymphocyte Function-associated Antigen 1 (LFA-1) antibody was selected as a complementary, transient, systemic immune monotherapy. Islets were PEGylated via an optimized protocol, with resulting islets exhibiting robust cell viability and function. Following transplantation, a significant subset of diabetic animals receiving PEGylated islets (60%) or anti-LFA-1 antibody (50%) exhibited long-term (>100 d) normoglycemia. The combinatorial approach proved synergistic, with 78% of the grafts exhibiting euglycemia long-term. Additional studies examining graft cellular infiltrates at early time points characterized the local impact of the transplant protocol on graft survival. Results illustrate the capacity of a simple polymer grafting approach to impart significant immunoprotective effects via modulation of the local transplant environment, while short-term immunotherapy serves to complement this effect. Statement of Significance We believe this study is important and of interest to the biomaterials and transplant community for several reasons: 1) it provides an optimized protocol for the PEGylation of islets, with minimal impact on the coated islets, which can be easily translated for clinical applications; 2) this optimized protocol demonstrates the benefits of islet PEGylation in providing modest immunosuppression in a murine model; 3) this work demonstrates the combinatory impact of PEGylation with short-course immunotherapy (via LFA-1 blockage), illustrating the capacity of PEGylation to complement existing immunotherapy; and 4) it suggests macrophage phenotype shifting as the potential mechanism for this observed benefit.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)272-283
Number of pages12
JournalActa Biomaterialia
StatePublished - Feb 1 2017


  • Anti-Lymphocyte Function-associated Antigen 1 (LFA-1)
  • Encapsulation
  • Inflammation
  • Local immunomodulation
  • Poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG)
  • Polymer grafting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Biomaterials
  • Biochemistry
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Molecular Biology


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