Polylysine-Bilirubin Conjugates Maintain Functional Islets and Promote M2 Macrophage Polarization

  • 作者:Zhao, Y. Z., Huang, Z. W., Zhai, Y. Y., Shi, Y., Du, C. C., Zhai, J., Xu, H. L., Xiao, J., Kou, L. & Yao, Q.
  • 期刊:Acta biomaterialia 122, 172-185 (2021)
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Macrophage polarization is one of the main factors contributing to the proinflammatory milieu of transplanted islets. It causes significant islet loss. Bilirubin exhibits protective effects during the islet transplantation process, but the mode of delivering drugs along with the islet graft has not yet been developed. In addition, it remains unclear whether bilirubin or its derivatives can modulate macrophage polarization during islet transplantation. Therefore, this study aimed to develop an ε-polylysine-bilirubin conjugate (PLL-BR) to encapsulate the islets for protection and to explore its macrophage modulation activities. In in vitro studies, the PLL-BR was shown to tightly adhere to the islet surface. It also exhibited enhanced cytoprotective effects against oxidative and inflammatory conditions by promoting M2-type macrophage polarization. In in vivo studies, the PLL-BR-protected islets successfully prolonged the euglycemia period in diabetic mice and accelerated the blood glucose clearance rate by maintaining the insulin secretion function. Compared to the untreated islets, the PLL-BR-encapsulated islets induced anti-inflammatory responses that were characterized by elevated levels of M2 macrophage markers and local vascularization. In conclusion, PLL-BR can be used as a tool for reprograming macrophage polarization while providing a more efficient immune protection for transplanted islets. STATEMENT OF SIGNIFICANCE: Macrophage polarization is one main factor that caused significant loss of transplanted islets. Bilirubin possesses protective effects toward pancreatic islet, but how to deliver the drug along with the islet graft has not yet been harnessed. More importantly, whether bilirubin or its derivatives could modulate macrophage polarization during the host rejections has also not been answered. In this study, we developed an ε-polylysine-bilirubin conjugate (PLL-BR) to encapsulate the islets and explore its role in macrophage modulation activities. PLL-BR could attach to the surface of islets and exerted high oxidation resistance and anti-inflammatory effect. For the first time, we demonstrate that bilirubin and its derivatives effectively promoted the M2-type macrophage polarization, and optimize the immune microenvironment for islets survival and function.