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Biotechniques. 2004 Dec;37(6):922-4, 926, 928-30 passim.

Simultaneous monitoring of Zn2+ secretion and intracellular Ca2+ from islets and islet cells by fluorescence microscopy.

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Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, WA, USA.


A method for simultaneously imaging Zn2+ secretion and intracellular Ca2+ at beta-cell clusters and single islets of Langerhans was developed. Cells were loaded with the Ca2+ indicator Fura Red, incubated in buffer containing the Zn2+ indicator FluoZin-3, and imaged via laser scanning fluorescence confocal microscopy. FluoZin-3 and Fura Red are excited at 488 nm and emit at 515 and 665 nm, respectively. Zn2+, which is co-released with insulin, reacts with extracellular FluoZin-3 to form a fluorescent product. Stimulation of cell clusters with glucose evoked increases and oscillations in intracellular Ca2+ and Zn2+ secretion that were correlated with each other and were synchronized among cells. In single islets, spatially resolved dynamics of secretion including detection of first phase, second phase, and synchronized oscillations around the islet were observed. Fura Red did not yield detectable Ca2+ signals at islets. For islet measurements, cells were loaded with Fura-2 and incubated in FluoZin-3 while sequentially illuminating the islets with 340, 380, and 470 nm light and acquiring epi-fluorescence images with a charge-coupled device (CCD) camera. This allowed Ca2+ and secretion to be observed with approximately 2 s temporal resolution. This method should be useful for studying Ca2+ secretion coupling and any application, requiring rapid assays of secretion.

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