Feasibility of localized metabolomics in the study of pancreatic islets and diabetes

Oscar Alcazar, Luis F. Hernandez, Ashley Tschiggfrie, Michael J. Muehlbauer, James R. Bain, Peter Buchwald, Midhat H. Abdulreda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


(1) Background: Disruption of insulin production by native or transplanted pancreatic islets caused by auto/allo-immunity leads to hyperglycemia, a serious health condition and important therapeutic challenge due to the lifelong need for exogeneous insulin administration. Early metabolic biomarkers can prompt timely interventions to preserve islet function, but reliable biomarkers are currently lacking. We explored the feasibility of “localized metabolomics” where initial biomarker discovery is made in aqueous humor samples for further validation in the circulation. (2) Methods: We conducted non-targeted metabolomic studies in parallel aqueous humor and plasma samples from diabetic and nondiabetic mice. Metabolite levels and associated pathways were compared in both compartments as well as to an earlier longitudinal dataset in hyperglycemia-progressor versus non-progressor non-obese diabetic (NOD) mice. (3) Results: We confirmed that aqueous humor samples can be used to assess metabolite levels. About half of the identified metabolites had well-correlated levels in the aqueous humor and plasma. Several plasma metabolites were significantly different between diabetic and nondiabetic animals and between males and females, and many of them were correlated with the aqueous humor. (4) Conclusions: This study provides proof-of-concept evidence that aqueous humor samples enriched with islet-related metabolites and representative of the immediate islet microenvironment following intraocular islet transplant can be used to assess metabolic changes that could otherwise be overlooked in the general circulation. The findings support localized metabolomics, with and without intraocular islet transplant, to identify biomarkers associated with diabetes and islet allograft rejection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number207
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2019


  • Anterior chamber of the eye
  • Autoimmune diabetes
  • GC-MS
  • Gender differences
  • Islet microenvironment
  • Local metabolomics
  • Non-obese diabetic (NOD) mice
  • Non-targeted metabolomics
  • Pancreatic islet
  • T1D biomarkers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'Feasibility of localized metabolomics in the study of pancreatic islets and diabetes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this