Background: The pool of brain-dead donors (BDDs) was increased with the revision to the relevant law in 2010, and islet transplantation from BDDs was started in 2013. The present study assessed the influence of using pancreases from BDDs on islet transplantation in Japan. Methods: The donor information registered with the secretariat of islet transplants from 2012 was reviewed, and the results of 86 clinical islet isolations performed in Japan between 2003 and 2018 with non-heart-beating donors (NHBDs) (n = 71) and BDDs (n = 15) were investigated. Results: The number of cases for which donor information was registered with the secretariat of islet transplants increased to 1.84 cases/month from 2013 to 2018 in comparison to 1.44/month in 2012, when only NHBDs were used. The median pancreatic islet yield was 275,550 IEQ (Islet equivalents) in the NHBD group but 3,627,000 in the BDD group, which amounted to a statistically significant difference (p = 0.02). As a result, 38/71 cases (53.5%) were achieved successful islet isolation (>5000 IEQ per recipient weight (kg)) was achieved in 38/71 cases (53.5%) in the NHBD group, and 12/15 cases (80.0%) in the BDD group; thus, the rate of successful islet transplantation was higher in the BDD group. Conclusion: The use of pancreases from BDDs has increased the overall number of cases for which donor information is registered with the secretariat of islet transplants and has improved the performance of islet isolation, thereby increasing the probability of successfully achieving islet transplantation.
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