New methods are needed to image specific molecules, cells and cellular processes to better understand insulin secretion from islets of Langerhans in situ, the defects that occur in diabetes mellitus, and the results of βcell replacement therapy. These methods are critical to further our understanding of the biogenesis and adaptive responses of insulinsecreting cells. Imaging techniques for these applications can be considered from those that resolve from the nano- scale to several centimeters, with time resolutions that might range from milliseconds to years. Static structural imaging may be helpful in estimating βcell mass, but this should be complemented by functional approaches to understand the secretion defects that may be seen in diabetes. In this brief review we discuss potential targets for functional imaging of βcells in vitro and in vivo.
Keywords: Islet, in vivo imaging, green fluorescent protein, signal transduction, insulin secretion, diabetes
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