The islets of Langerhans constitute the endocrine pancreas which regulates blood glucose homeostasis and their dysfunction results in diabetes. Each of the pancreatic islets constitutes an entire micro-organ with intricate cell to cell interactions and that is well vascularized and innervated. An important therapeutic advantage in islet transplant is that pancreatic islets maintain their organ integrity when isolated and transplanted to patients with severe diabetes. Once transplanted, the islet micro-organs actively contribute to their own vascularization and start to function immediately. Hence, in terms of organ transplantation, the application of pancreatic islets will be a decisive clinical tool for future diabetes care (credit: Tilo Moede).
Keywords: Diabetes; Islet transplant; Islet transplantation; Isolated islets; Micro-organ; Pancreatic islets.