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Endocr Rev. 2012 Dec;33(6):892-919. doi: 10.1210/er.2011-1041. Epub 2012 Aug 13.

Imaging of β-cell mass and insulitis in insulin-dependent (Type 1) diabetes mellitus.

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Department of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging, University Medical Center Groningen, University of Groningen, 9700 AB, Groningen, The Netherlands.


Insulin-dependent (type 1) diabetes mellitus is a metabolic disease with a complex multifactorial etiology and a poorly understood pathogenesis. Genetic and environmental factors cause an autoimmune reaction against pancreatic β-cells, called insulitis, confirmed in pancreatic samples obtained at autopsy. The possibility to noninvasively quantify β-cell mass in vivo would provide important biological insights and facilitate aspects of diagnosis and therapy, including follow-up of islet cell transplantation. Moreover, the availability of a noninvasive tool to quantify the extent and severity of pancreatic insulitis could be useful for understanding the natural history of human insulin-dependent (type 1) diabetes mellitus, to early diagnose children at risk to develop overt diabetes, and to select patients to be treated with immunotherapies aimed at blocking the insulitis and monitoring the efficacy of these therapies. In this review, we outline the imaging techniques currently available for in vivo, noninvasive detection of β-cell mass and insulitis. These imaging techniques include magnetic resonance imaging, ultrasound, computed tomography, bioluminescence and fluorescence imaging, and the nuclear medicine techniques positron emission tomography and single-photon emission computed tomography. Several approaches and radiopharmaceuticals for imaging β-cells and lymphocytic insulitis are reviewed in detail.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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