A promising treatment method for type 1 diabetes mellitus is transplantation of pancreatic islets containing beta-cells. The aim of this study was to develop an MR technique to monitor the distribution and fate of transplanted pancreatic islets in an animal model. Twenty-five hundred purified and magnetically labeled islets were transplanted through the portal vein into the liver of experimental rats. The animals were scanned using a MR 4.7-T scanner. The labeled pancreatic islets were clearly visualized in the liver in both diabetic and healthy rats as hypointense areas on T2*-weighted MR images during the entire measurement period. Transmission electron microscopy confirmed the presence of iron-oxide nanoparticles inside the cells of the pancreatic islets. A significant decrease in blood glucose levels in diabetic rats was observed; normal glycemia was reached 1 week after transplantation. This study, therefore, represents a promising step toward possible clinical application in human medicine.
(c) 2004 Wiley-Liss, Inc.