Imaging dynamics of CD11c+ cells and Foxp3+ cells in progressive autoimmune insulitis in the NOD mouse model of type 1 diabetes

Anja Schmidt-Christensen, Lisbeth Hansen, Erwin Ilegems, Nina Fransén-Pettersson, Ulf Dahl, Shashank Gupta, Åsa Larefalk, Tine D. Hannibal, Alexander Schulz, Per Olof Berggren, Dan Holmberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Aims/hypothesis: The aim of this study was to visualise the dynamics and interactions of the cells involved in autoimmune-driven inflammation in type 1 diabetes. Methods: We adopted the anterior chamber of the eye (ACE) transplantation model to perform non-invasive imaging of leucocytes infiltrating the endocrine pancreas during initiation and progression of insulitis in the NOD mouse. Individual, ACE-transplanted islets of Langerhans were longitudinally and repetitively imaged by stereomicroscopy and two-photon microscopy to follow fluorescently labelled leucocyte subsets. Results: We demonstrate that, in spite of the immune privileged status of the eye, the ACE-transplanted islets develop infiltration and beta cell destruction, recapitulating the autoimmune insulitis of the pancreas, and exemplify this by analysing reporter cell populations expressing green fluorescent protein under the Cd11c or Foxp3 promoters. We also provide evidence that differences in morphological appearance of subpopulations of infiltrating leucocytes can be correlated to their distinct dynamic behaviour. Conclusions/interpretation: Together, these findings demonstrate that the kinetics and dynamics of these key cellular components of autoimmune diabetes can be elucidated using this imaging platform for single cell resolution, non-invasive and repetitive monitoring of the individual islets of Langerhans during the natural development of autoimmune diabetes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2669-2678
Number of pages10
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Animal-mouse
  • Imaging
  • Islet degeneration and damage
  • Islet transplantation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


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