Plasticity of Schwann cells and pericytes in response to islet injury in mice

Shiue-Cheng TangYa-Yuan Fu


Islet Schwann (glial) cells and pericytes are the microorgan's accessory cells positioned at the external and internal boundaries facing the exocrine pancreas and endothelium, respectively, adjacent to the endocrine cells. Plasticity of glial cells and pericytes is shown in the glial scar formation after injury to the central nervous system. It remains unclear whether similar reactive cellular responses occur in insulitis. We applied three-dimensional (3D) histology to perform qualitative and quantitative analyses of the islet Schwann cell network and pericytes in normal, streptozotocin-injected (positive control of gliosis) and NOD mouse models. Vessel painting paired with immunostaining of mouse pancreatic tissue was used to reveal the islet Schwann cells and pericytes and their association with vasculature. Transparent islet specimens were prepared by optical clearing to facilitate 3D confocal microscopy for panoramic visualisation of the tissue networks. In-depth microscopy showed that the islet Schwann cell network extends from the peri-islet domain into the core. One week after streptozotocin injection, we observed intra-islet perivascular gliosis and an increase in pericyte density. In early/moderate insulitis in the NOD...Continue Reading


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