Imaging of the islet neural network

Diabetes, Obesity & Metabolism
S-C TangH-J Chien


The islets of Langerhans receive signals from the circulation and nerves to modulate hormone secretion in response to physiological cues. Although the rich islet innervation has been documented in the literature dating as far back as Paul Langerhans' discovery of islets in the pancreas, it remains a challenging task for researchers to acquire detailed islet innervation patterns in health and disease due to the dispersed nature of the islet neurovascular network. In this article, we discuss the recent development of 3-dimensional (3D) islet neurohistology, in which transparent pancreatic specimens were prepared by optical clearing to visualize the islet microstructure, vasculature and innervation with deep-tissue microscopy. Mouse islets were used as an example to illustrate how to apply this 3D imaging approach to characterize (i) the islet parasympathetic innervation, (ii) the islet sympathetic innervation and its reinnervation after transplantation under the kidney capsule and (iii) the reactive cellular response of the Schwann cell network in islet injury. While presenting and characterizing the innervation patterns, we also discuss how to apply the signals derived from transmitted light microscopy, vessel painting and immun...Continue Reading


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