Pancreatic human islets and insulin-producing cells derived from embryonic stem cells are rapidly identified by a newly developed Dithizone

Sci Rep. 2019 Jun 26;9(1):9295. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-45678-y.


We developed an optimized Dipheylthiocarbazone or Dithizone (DTZ) with improved physical and chemical properties to characterize human islets and insulin-producing cells differentiated from embryonic stem cells. Application of the newly formulated iDTZ (i stands for islet) over a range of temperatures, time intervals and cell and tissue types found it to be robust for identifying these cells. Through high transition zinc binding, the iDTZ compound concentrated in insulin-producing cells and proved effective at delineating zinc levels in vitro.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cell Culture Techniques
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cell Separation / instrumentation*
  • Dithizone / chemistry*
  • Embryonic Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Humans
  • Insulin / biosynthesis*
  • Insulin Secretion
  • Islets of Langerhans / cytology*
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Temperature
  • Zinc / chemistry*


  • Insulin
  • Dithizone
  • Zinc