Kloster-Jensen K, Sahraoui A, Vethe NT, Korsgren O, Bergan S, Foss A, Scholz H
J Diabetes Res 2016 (-) 4196460 [2016-01-18; online 2016-01-18]
Tacrolimus and sirolimus are important immunosuppressive drugs used in human islet transplantation; however, they are linked to detrimental effects on islets and reduction of long-term graft function. Few studies investigate the direct effects of these drugs combined in parallel with single drug exposure. Human islets were treated with or without tacrolimus (30 μg/L), sirolimus (30 μg/L), or a combination thereof for 24 hrs. Islet function as well as apoptosis was assessed by glucose-stimulated insulin secretion (GSIS) and Cell Death ELISA. Proinflammatory cytokines were analysed by qRT-PCR and Bio-Plex. Islets exposed to the combination of sirolimus and tacrolimus were treated with or without methylprednisolone (1000 μg/L) and the expression of the proinflammatory cytokines was investigated. We found the following: (i) No additive reduction in function and viability in islets existed when tacrolimus and sirolimus were combined compared to the single drug. (ii) Increased expression of proinflammatory cytokines mRNA and protein levels in islets took place. (iii) Methylprednisolone significantly decreased the proinflammatory response in islets induced by the drug combination. Although human islets are prone to direct toxic effect of tacrolimus and sirolimus, we found no additive effects of the drug combination. Short-term exposure of glucocorticoids could effectively reduce the proinflammatory response in human islets induced by the combination of tacrolimus and sirolimus.