Islets of Langerhans were isolated from mouse pancreases and fixed in periodatelysine-paraformaldehyde. The fixed islets were then dissociated with trypsin and EDTA to yield cell suspensions that contained mainly four cell types; beta-cells, capillary endothelial cells, acinar cells, and pancreatic duct epithelial cells. The nonislet cells were probably associated wtih the surface of the isolated islets. The H-2 antigens of the dissociated pancreatic cells were labeled with an immunoferritin technique. Pancreatic duct epithelial cells showed specific ferritin labeling on their lateral cell membranes but not on apical microvillus membranes. Acinar cells were also labeled on lateral membranes, and the capillary endothelial cells were labeled on both the luminal and albuminal aspects of their surface membranes. In contrast, pancreatic beta-cells were unlabeled. The number of ferritin molecules per unit length of beta-cell membrane was essentially the same on cells from the antigenic strain and the congeneic control strain, and was about 200-fold less than on the labeled pancreatic duct epithelial cell lateral membranes. Pancreatic beta-cells are therefore one of six known epithelial cell types on which H-2 antigens can not be detected by immunoferritin labeling. The apparent absence of H-2 antigens from these cells suggests a study of the viability of beta-cells in allografts of dissociated islet cells, in which the beta-cell would not be in contact with antigenic cells. Such studies might lead to a new approach to the control of diabetes mellitus by transplantation.

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