Cell contacts in human islets of Langerhans

J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1975 Nov;41(5):841-4. doi: 10.1210/jcem-41-5-841.


The freeze-fracturing technique was applied to fresh human islets of Langerhans. With this technique, the inside of cellular membranes was revealed, and specific membrane differentiations, hitherto unknown, were observed in the plasma membrane of the endocrine cells. The specific membrane differentiations represent two types of intercellular junctions, namely the tight junction, which determines a closure of the extracellular space and the gap junction which allows molecules and ions to diffuse from one cell to another (sharing the gap junction) without leaking in the extracellular space (intercellular coupling). The presence of such junctions may be important for the secretory behavior of the cells within the islet.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cell Adhesion
  • Cell Membrane / ultrastructure
  • Extracellular Space / metabolism
  • Female
  • Freeze Fracturing
  • Humans
  • Intercellular Junctions / ultrastructure*
  • Islets of Langerhans / metabolism
  • Islets of Langerhans / ultrastructure*