These researchers developed a technique based on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of magnetic nanoparticles to noninvasively visualize local effects of pancreatic-islet inflammation. Using it they were able to predict the onset of diabetes in mice and to estimate the time to diabetes development. They then exploited this novel imaging technique to identify previously unknown molecular and cellular elements correlated with disease protection, including certain components of the immune system associated with diabetes resistance. Administration of a these components resulted in lower MRI signals and reduced diabetes incidence in mice.
Fu W, Wojtkiewicz G, Weissleder R, Benoist C, Mathis D. (2012). Early window of diabetes determinism in NOD mice, dependent on the complement receptor CRIg, identified by noninvasive imaging. Nature Immunology. Feb 26;13(4):361-8.
Ramifications for Individuals with Type 1 Diabetes:
Imaging of inflammation in the pancreas may help identify individuals who will develop T1D and predict how rapidly they might progress. This would be important for prevention trials as well as for therapeutic studies aimed at preserving beta cell function. The immune system components identified with this imaging technique opens up the possibility for novel therapeutic approaches for preventing T1D.
This study was partly funded by JDRF.