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Diabetes Obes Metab. 2008 Nov;10 Suppl 4:88-97. doi: 10.1111/j.1463-1326.2008.00942.x.

Non-invasive detection of transplanted pancreatic islets.

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Molecular Imaging Program, MGH/MIT/HMS Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging, Department of Radiology, Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02129, USA.


Type 1 diabetes (insulin-dependent, IDDM) results in immune-mediated destruction of pancreatic beta cells, which leads to a deficiency in insulin secretion and as a result, to hyperglycaemia. Keeping blood glucose levels under tight control represents the most effective way either to prevent the onset or to reduce the progression of the chronic complications of IDDM. At present, pancreatic islet transplantation is emerging as the most promising clinical modality, which can stop diabetes progression without increasing the incidence of hypoglycaemic events. Although early results of clinical trials using the Edmonton Protocol and its variations are very encouraging, it is still unclear how long the islets will survive and how often the transplantation procedure will be successful. In order to monitor transplantation efficiency and graft survival, reliable non-invasive imaging methods are critically needed. If such methods are introduced clinically, essential information regarding the location, function and viability of transplanted islets can be obtained repeatedly and non-invasively. This review will focus on the latest advancements in the field of in vivo imaging of islet transplantation and describe various islet labelling and imaging techniques. In addition, we will critically look into limitations and obstacles currently present on the way to successful clinical implementation of this approach.

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