In vivo imaging of islet transplantation

Nat Med. 2006 Jan;12(1):144-8. doi: 10.1038/nm1316. Epub 2005 Dec 25.


Type 1 diabetes mellitus is characterized by the selective destruction of insulin-producing beta cells, which leads to a deficiency in insulin secretion and, as a result, to hyperglycemia. At present, transplantation of pancreatic islets is an emerging and promising clinical modality, which can render individuals with type 1 diabetes insulin independent without increasing the incidence of hypoglycemic events. To monitor transplantation efficiency and graft survival, reliable noninvasive imaging methods are needed. If such methods were introduced into the clinic, essential information could be obtained repeatedly and noninvasively. Here we report on the in vivo detection of transplanted human pancreatic islets using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) that allowed noninvasive monitoring of islet grafts in diabetic mice in real time. We anticipate that the information obtained in this study would ultimately result in the ability to detect and monitor islet engraftment in humans, which would greatly aid the clinical management of this disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Transplantation
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Experimental
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / pathology*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Humans
  • Hyperglycemia
  • Islets of Langerhans / cytology*
  • Islets of Langerhans Transplantation / pathology*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • Mice
  • Mice, Nude
  • Microscopy, Confocal / methods
  • Microscopy, Electron / methods
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence
  • Phantoms, Imaging
  • Time Factors