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Isolation and Decellularization of a Whole Porcine Pancreas

Journal article
Authors Vijay Kumar Kuna
Niclas Kvarnström
Erik Elebring
Suchitra Sumitran-Holgersson
Published in Jove-Journal of Visualized Experiments
Issue 140
ISSN 1940-087X
Publication year 2018
Published at Institute of Clinical Sciences, Department of Surgery
Language en
Subject categories Transplantation surgery


Tissue engineering of the whole pancreas can improve current treatments for diabetes mellitus. The ultimate goal is to tissue engineer pancreas from an allogeneic or xenogeneic source with human cells. A demonstration of methods for the efficient dissection, decellularization, and recellularization of porcine pancreas might benefit the field. Akin to human pancreases, porcine pancreases have a special anatomical arrangement with three lobes (splenic, duodenal, and connection) rounded by the duodenum and small intestine. The duodenal lobe of the pancreas connects to the duodenum by several small blood vessels. Tissue engineering of the pancreas is complicated because of its exocrine and endocrine nature. In this paper, we show a detailed protocol to dissect the whole porcine pancreas and decellularize it with detergents while saving its structure and some extracellular matrix components. To achieve complete perfusion, the aorta is chosen as inlet and the portal vein as outlet. The other blood vessels (hepatic artery, splenic vein, splenic artery, mesenteric artery and vein tree) and bile duct are ligated. To prevent the formation of thrombus, the pig is heparinized and, immediately after dissection, the organ is flushed with cold heparin. To inhibit the action of exocrine enzymes, the pancreas decellularization is set at 4 degrees C. The decellularization is performed by perfusion of Triton X-100, sodium deoxycholate, and deoxyribonuclease, with an intermittent and final extensive washing. With a successful decellularization, the pancreas appears white, and a histological evaluation with hematoxylin and eosin shows an absence of nuclei with a preserved extracellular matrix structure. Thus, the proposed method can be used to successfully dissect and decellularize whole porcine pancreas.

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