, Volume 52, Issue 8, pp 1599-1607
Date: 30 May 2009

In vivo imaging of murine endocrine islets of Langerhans with extended-focus optical coherence microscopy

Abstract

Aims/hypothesis

Structural and functional imaging of the islets of Langerhans and the insulin-secreting beta cells represents a significant challenge and a long-lasting objective in diabetes research. In vivo microscopy offers a valuable insight into beta cell function but has severe limitations regarding sample labelling, imaging speed and depth, and was primarily performed on isolated islets lacking native innervations and vascularisation. This article introduces extended-focus optical coherence microscopy (xfOCM) to image murine pancreatic islets in their natural environment in situ, i.e. in vivo and in a label-free condition.

Methods

Ex vivo measurements on excised pancreases were performed and validated by standard immunohistochemistry to investigate the structures that can be observed with xfOCM. The influence of streptozotocin on the signature of the islets was investigated in a second step. Finally, xfOCM was applied to make measurements of the murine pancreas in situ and in vivo.

Results

xfOCM circumvents the fundamental physical limit that trades lateral resolution for depth of field, and achieves fast volumetric imaging with high resolution in all three dimensions. It allows label-free visualisation of pancreatic lobules, ducts, blood vessels and individual islets of Langerhans ex vivo and in vivo, and detects streptozotocin-induced islet destruction.

Conclusions/interpretation

Our results demonstrate the potential value of xfOCM in high-resolution in vivo studies to assess islet structure and function in animal models of diabetes, aiming towards its use in longitudinal studies of diabetes progression and islet transplants.