Photosynthetic oxygen generator for bioartificial pancreas

Konstantin Bloch, Eli Papismedov, Karina Yavriyants, Marina Vorobeychik, Sven Beer, Pnina Vardi*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Immunoisolation of pancreatic islets interrupts their vascular connections and results in severe cell hypoxia and dysfunction. This process is believed to be the major obstacle to a successful cure of diabetes by implantation of bioartificial pancreas. Here we describe a new technology for microalga-based, photosynthetic oxygen supply to encapsulated islets, in which a thermophylic strain of the unicellular alga Chlorella was used as a natural photosynthetic oxygen generator. Following determinations of the optimal number of alga cells required for compensation of islet respiration, an appropriate number of islets and algae were co-encapsulated in alginate and perifused with oxygen-free medium at increasing glucose concentrations. No insulin response to glucose was obtained in islets alone, or upon inactivation of photosynthesis by darkness. However, under illumination, photosynthetic-dependent oxygen generation induced higher glucose-stimulated insulin response when compared to normoxic perifusion. Such photosynthetic oxygen generation may have a potential application in development of various bioartificial tissues, in particular the endocrine pancreas.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)337-344
Number of pages8
JournalTissue Engineering
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2006


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