Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Reading the pancreas through the eye

Date:
November 18, 2013
Source:
Karolinska Institutet
Summary:
Researchers have found an innovative way to study glucose regulation in the body: by transferring the vital insulin-producing cells from the pancreas to the eye. The latter can serve as a kind of window through which health reports can be obtained from the former. The results, which are expected to have a significant impact on diabetes research.

Researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden have found an innovative way to study glucose regulation in the body: by transferring the vital insulin-producing cells from the pancreas to the eye, the latter can serve as a kind of window through which health reports can be obtained from the former. The results, which are expected to have a significant impact on diabetes research, are published in scientific journal PNAS.

The endocrine part of the pancreas, the Islets of Langerhans, produces and secretes insulin, the hormone that regulates blood sugar levels. After a meal, the hormone is released into the blood at an amount that is in direct proportion to the amount of food ingested; blood insulin levels therefore vary from one meal to the next and between individuals. In the case of conditions such as obesity, large amounts of insulin are needed to compensate for the high consumption of food and insensitivity to the hormone.

The Islets of Langerhans try to adapt themselves to this condition by increasing the number of insulin-producing beta-cells and/or modulating their individual secretion of insulin in response to the intake of sugar. This plasticity is essential to the maintenance of normal blood sugar levels, and its dysfunction leads to diabetes, a serious disease that has reached pandemic proportions.

The greatest obstacle to studying the exact workings of the Islets of Langerhans and how they adapt to individual conditions is their relative inaccessibility, in that they lie deeply embedded in and are distributed throughout the tissue. Now, however, researchers have found a new way to study the insulin-producing beta-cells: by transferring the Islets of Langerhans to the eye.

"What we've done is made the cells optically accessible by grafting a small number of 'reporter islets' into the eyes of mice, which allows us to monitor the activity of the pancreas just by looking into the eye," says Per-Olof Berggren, professor of experimental endocrinology at Karolinska Institutet's Department of Molecular Medicine and Surgery, and director of the Rolf Luft Research Centre for Diabetes and Endocrinology. "We're now able to really study the insulin-producing beta-cells in detail in a way that wasn't possible before."

The eye may be used, as a kind of reporter reproducing the activity of the pancreas and allowing readings of the status of the pancreas under different conditions in health and disease.

"The Islets of Langerhans can be visualised repeatedly over a period of several months, and our work shows that during this time, functional and morphological changes occur in them that are identical to those occurring in the pancreas," says first author Dr Erwin Ilegems, researcher at the Rolf Luft Centre.

Using the new monitoring system and pharmacological treatment, the researchers have reduced food consumption in obese mice models and thus stopped the enormous growth in beta-cell population. This means that they are now able to individually tweak drug doses.

"We'll also be using the system to identify new drug substances that regulate beta-cell plasticity and function," says Professor Berggren. "In the future we may also conceive a similar use of reporter islets in humans in order to find unique, tailored treatment principles, to measure the effects of personal medication, or to diagnose problems with the pancreatic islets."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Karolinska Institutet. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Erwin Ilegems, Andrea Dicker, Stephan Speier, Aarti Sharma, Alan Bahow, Patrick Karlsson Edlund, Ingo B. Leibiger, and Per-Olof Berggren. Reporter islets in the eye reveal plasticity of the endocrine pancreas. PNAS, November 2013

Cite This Page:

Karolinska Institutet. "Reading the pancreas through the eye." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 November 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131118155813.htm>.
Karolinska Institutet. (2013, November 18). Reading the pancreas through the eye. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131118155813.htm
Karolinska Institutet. "Reading the pancreas through the eye." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131118155813.htm (accessed July 30, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 30, 2014) Obamacare-related costs were said to be behind the profit plunge at Wellpoint and Humana, but Wellpoint sees the new exchanges boosting its earnings for the full year. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

AFP (July 30, 2014) Pan-African airline ASKY has suspended all flights to and from the capitals of Liberia and Sierra Leone amid the worsening Ebola health crisis, which has so far caused 672 deaths in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Duration: 00:43 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

AP (July 30, 2014) At least 20 New Jersey residents have tested positive for chikungunya, a mosquito-borne virus that has spread through the Caribbean. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Generics Eat Into Pfizer's Sales

Generics Eat Into Pfizer's Sales

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 29, 2014) Pfizer, the world's largest drug maker, cut full-year revenue forecasts because generics could cut into sales of its anti-arthritis drug, Celebrex. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News



      Save/Print:
      Share:

      Free Subscriptions


      Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

      Get Social & Mobile


      Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

      Have Feedback?


      Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
      Mobile: iPhone Android Web
      Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
      Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
      Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins