Oleanolic acid, a plant triterpenoid, significantly improves survival and function of islet allograft

Angaswamy Nataraju, Deepti Saini, Sabarinathan Ramachandran, Nicholas Benshoff, Wei Liu, William Chapman, Thalachallour Mohanakumar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND.: Oleanolic acid (OA) is a ubiquitous triterpenoid, with potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Here, we tested whether these combined properties of OA can prevent nonimmunologic primary nonfunctioning and immunologic phenomena ascribed to graft rejection hence prolong islet allograft survival. METHODS.: Islet transplants were performed under kidney capsule of streptozotocin-induced diabetic C57BL/6 mice with BALB/c islets. Recipients were treated with 0.5 mg/day of OA intraperitoneally, and serum samples were collected once in 2 days and used for luminex, ELISA, and donor-specific antibody screening. Transplanted mice were killed at different time intervals to obtain splenocytes and kidney samples for ELISPOT, mixed leukocyte reaction, and immunohistochemical studies. RESULTS.: After transplantation, the decrement of blood glucose was significantly faster in mice receiving OA less than 2±1 days compared with untreated (4±2 days). OA prolonged survival of transplanted islets up to 23±3 days and reversed diabetes even with 250 islets. Treatment group showed increased serum interleukin (IL)-10 (twofold) and decreased inducible protein-10 and IL-4 (threefold) in luminex. Significantly reduced frequency of interferon-γ (4.5-fold), IL-4 (3.5-fold), IL-2 (2.3-fold), and IL-17 (fourfold) producing T-cell populations were found in ELISPOT. OA-treated grafts had significant reduced and delayed infiltration of CD4+ and CD8+ T cells. OA also delayed donor-specific antibody generation up to 19 days after transplantation. Combined treatment with cyclosporine A, OA further prolonged the islet allograft survival to 34±3 days. CONCLUSIONS.: In conclusion, OA is an attractive, dietary nontoxic plant triterpenoid, which suppresses the production of proinflammatory cytokines and delays graft-specific immune responses to prolong islet allograft survival.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)987-994
Number of pages8
Issue number8
StatePublished - Oct 2009


  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Grafts prolongation
  • Immunosuppressant.
  • Islet allograft
  • Oleanolic acid


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