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Magn Reson Med. 2002 Apr;47(4):751-8.

MRI of insulitis in autoimmune diabetes.

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  • 1Center for Molecular Imaging Research, Department of Radiology, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.


Development of imaging techniques that would allow the mapping of immune cells in vivo could greatly aid our understanding of a number of inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. The current study focused on imaging of autoimmune destruction of the insulin-producing pancreatic beta-cells by cytotoxic lymphocytes, the cause of insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM; Type 1 diabetes). Using high-resolution MR microscopy and a conventional clinical MR imaging system, it was possible to visualize the infiltration of immune cells in the diabetic mouse pancreas. Mouse lymphocytes were visualized by magnetically labeling them with recently developed magnetic nanoparticles (CLIO-Tat). The results from this study could potentially lead to detection of immune infiltration during diabetes formation in vivo, which would be one of the earliest parameters of disease development.

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