Noninvasive in vivo imaging of pancreatic islet cell biology

Nat Med. 2008 May;14(5):574-8. doi: 10.1038/nm1701. Epub 2008 Mar 7.


Advanced imaging techniques have become a valuable tool in the study of complex biological processes at the cellular level in biomedical research. Here, we introduce a new technical platform for noninvasive in vivo fluorescence imaging of pancreatic islets using the anterior chamber of the eye as a natural body window. Islets transplanted into the mouse eye engrafted on the iris, became vascularized, retained cellular composition, responded to stimulation and reverted diabetes. Laser-scanning microscopy allowed repetitive in vivo imaging of islet vascularization, beta cell function and death at cellular resolution. Our results thus establish the basis for noninvasive in vivo investigations of complex cellular processes, like beta cell stimulus-response coupling, which can be performed longitudinally under both physiological and pathological conditions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Animals
  • Diagnostic Imaging / methods*
  • Fluorescence
  • Iris / surgery
  • Islets of Langerhans / surgery
  • Islets of Langerhans / ultrastructure*
  • Islets of Langerhans Transplantation
  • Mice
  • Microscopy, Confocal