Non-invasive in vivo imaging of pancreatic β-cell function and survival - a perspective

I. B. Leibiger, A. Caicedo, P. O. Berggren

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


A major problem in medical research is to translate in vitro observations into the living organism. In this perspective, we discuss ongoing efforts to non-invasively image pancreatic islets/β-cells by techniques, such as magnetic resonance imaging and positron emission tomography, and present an experimental platform, which allows in vivo imaging of pancreatic β-cell mass and function longitudinally and at the single-cell level. Following transplantation of pancreatic islets into the anterior chamber of the eye of mice and rats, these islets are studied by functional microscopic imaging. This imaging platform can be utilized to address fundamental aspects of pancreatic islet cell biology in vivo in health and disease. These include the dynamics of pancreatic islet vascularization, islet cell innervation, signal-transduction, change in functional β-cell mass and immune responses. Moreover, we discuss the feasibility of studying human islet cell physiology and pathology in vivo as well as the potential of using the anterior chamber of the eye as a site for therapeutic transplantation in type 1 diabetes mellitus.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)178-185
Number of pages8
JournalActa Physiologica
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2012


  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Fluorescence microscopy
  • In vivo optical imaging
  • Islets of Langerhans
  • Pancreatic β-cell mass

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology


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