Non-invasive Monitoring of Beta Cell Function Using a Novel Zinc-Based MRI Sensor

In non-diabetic individuals, the elevation of blood glucose levels stimulates the release of insulin stored in pancreatic islet beta cells. This research demonstrated that zinc is co-released with insulin from beta cells in response to high blood glucose levels and can be readily detected with standard MRI screening by using a novel zinc-responsive imaging agent. This novel zinc sensor showed enhancement after glucose stimulated insulin secretion in normal mice. Further, images of mice fed a high-fat diet showed a larger volume of contrast-enhance pancreatic tissue, consistent with the expansion of pancreatic beta cell mass during fat accumulation and progression to T1D. This MRI sensor offers the exciting potential for deep-tissue, non-invasive monitoring of beta cell function after implantation of islets in patients with T1D.

Reference:

Lubag AJ, De Leon-Rodriguez LM, Burgess SC, Sherry AD. (2011). Noninvasive MRI of beta-cell function using a Zn2+-responsive contrast agent. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2011 Nov 8;108(45):18400-5.

Ramifications for Individuals with Type 1 Diabetes:

This MRI sensor offers the exciting potential for deep-tissue monitoring of beta-cell function after implantation of islets in patients with T1D.

JDRF Involvement:

TBD This work was not supported by JDRF.