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Diabetologia. 2014 May;57(5):950-9. doi: 10.1007/s00125-014-3166-3. Epub 2014 Feb 1.

Non-invasive quantification of the beta cell mass by SPECT with ¹¹¹In-labelled exendin.

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Department of Radiology and Nuclear Medicine, Radboud university medical center, PO Box 9101, 6500 HB, Nijmegen, The Netherlands,



A reliable method for in vivo quantification of pancreatic beta cell mass (BCM) could lead to further insight into the pathophysiology of diabetes. The glucagon-like peptide 1 receptor, abundantly expressed on beta cells, may be a suitable target for imaging. We investigated the potential of radiotracer imaging with the GLP-1 analogue exendin labelled with indium-111 for determination of BCM in vivo in a rodent model of beta cell loss and in patients with type 1 diabetes and healthy individuals.


The targeting of (111)In-labelled exendin was examined in a rat model of alloxan-induced beta cell loss. Rats were injected with 15 MBq (111)In-labelled exendin and single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) acquisition was performed 1 h post injection, followed by dissection, biodistribution and ex vivo autoradiography studies of pancreatic sections. BCM was determined by morphometric analysis after staining with an anti-insulin antibody. For clinical evaluation SPECT was acquired 4, 24 and 48 h after injection of 150 MBq (111)In-labelled exendin in five patients with type 1 diabetes and five healthy individuals. The tracer uptake was determined by quantitative analysis of the SPECT images.


In rats, (111)In-labelled exendin specifically targets the beta cells and pancreatic uptake is highly correlated with BCM. In humans, the pancreas was visible in SPECT images and the pancreatic uptake showed high interindividual variation with a substantially lower uptake in patients with type 1 diabetes.


These studies indicate that (111)In-labelled exendin may be suitable for non-invasive quantification of BCM.

TRIAL REGISTRATION: NCT01825148, EudraCT: 2012-000619-10.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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