Obesity and insulin resistance lead to islet hyperplasia. However, how the islet remodeling influences the pancreatic environment and the associated neurovascular networks is largely unknown. The lack of information is primarily due to the difficulty of global visualization of the hyperplasic islet (>200 μm) and the neurovascular environment with high definition. We modulated the pancreatic optical property to achieve 3-dimensional (3-D) whole-islet histology and to integrate transmitted light microscopy (which provides the ground-truth tissue information) with confocal fluorescence imaging. The new optical and imaging conditions were used to globally examine the hyperplastic islets of the young (2 months) obese db/db and ob/ob mice, which otherwise cannot be easily portrayed by the standard microtome-based histology. The voxel-based islet micrographs were digitally processed for stereo projection and qualitative and quantitative analyses of the islet tissue networks. Paired staining and imaging of the pancreatic islets, ducts and neurovascular networks reveal the unexpected formation of the 'neuro-insular-ductal complex' in the young obese mice. The complex consists of the peri- and/or intra-islet ducts and prominent peri-duct...Continue Reading
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