Culturing islets can add great flexibility to a clinical islet transplant program. However, a reduction in the islet mass has been frequently observed during culture and its degree varies. The aim of this study was to identify the risk factors associated with a significant islet loss during culture. One-hundred and four islet preparations cultured in an attempt to use for transplantation constituted this study. After culture for 20 h (median), islet yield significantly decreased from 363 309 +/- 12 647 to 313 035 +/- 10 862 islet equivalent yield (IE) (mean +/- SE), accompanied by a reduction in packed tissue volume from 3.9 +/- 0.1 to 3.0 +/- 0.1 ml and islet index (IE/islet particle count) from 1.20 +/- 0.04 to 1.05 +/- 0.04. Culture did not markedly alter islet purity or percent of trapped islet. Morphology score and viability were significantly improved after culture. Of 104 islet preparations, 37 suffered a substantial islet loss (> 20%) over culture. Factors significantly associated with risk of islet loss identified by univariate analysis were longer cold ischemia time, two-layer method (TLM) preservation, lower islet purity, and higher islet index. Multivariate analysis revealed that independent predictors of islet loss were higher islet index and the use of TLM. This study provides novel information on the link between donor- isolation factors and islet loss during culture.