Bioluminescence imaging in mouse models quantifies beta cell mass in the pancreas and after islet transplantation

Mol Imaging Biol. Jan-Feb 2010;12(1):42-53. doi: 10.1007/s11307-009-0240-1. Epub 2009 Jun 23.


Purpose: We developed a mouse model that enables non-invasive assessment of changes in beta cell mass.

Procedures: We generated a transgenic mouse expressing luciferase under control of the mouse insulin I promoter [mouse insulin promoter-luciferase-Vanderbilt University (MIP-Luc-VU)] and characterized this model in mice with increased or decreased beta cell mass and after islet transplantation.

Results: Streptozotocin-induced, diabetic MIP-Luc-VU mice had a progressive decline in bioluminescence that correlated with a decrease in beta cell mass. MIP-Luc-VU animals fed a high-fat diet displayed a progressive increase in bioluminescence that reflected an increase in beta cell mass. MIP-Luc-VU islets transplanted beneath the renal capsule or into the liver emitted bioluminescence proportional to the number of islets transplanted and could be imaged for more than a year.

Conclusions: Bioluminescence in the MIP-Luc-VU mouse model is proportional to beta cell mass in the setting of increased and decreased beta cell mass and after transplantation.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Size
  • Glucose Tolerance Test
  • Insulin / genetics
  • Insulin-Secreting Cells / pathology*
  • Islets of Langerhans Transplantation*
  • Luciferases / metabolism
  • Luminescent Measurements / methods*
  • Mice
  • Models, Animal
  • Molecular Imaging / methods*
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic / genetics
  • Whole Body Imaging


  • Insulin
  • Luciferases