, Volume 55, Issue 12, pp 3152-3154
Date: 22 Sep 2012

Islet nerves in focus—defining their neurobiological and clinical role

Abstract

Although it is well established that the pancreatic islets are innervated by autonomic nerves, the detailed islet innervation pattern is still unclear. In this issue of Diabetologia (DOI: 10.1007/s00125-012-2699-6) novel details of the islet neuroanatomy and its plasticity in experimental diabetes are described. By using a 3-dimensional (3-D) imaging technique, it has been shown that, in islets from normal mice, sympathetic nerves mainly form a neurovascular complex in addition to innervating peripherally located islet alpha cells. There are also pronounced changes in islet neuroanatomy in experimental diabetes. These findings suggest novel neural–islet regulatory mechanisms as well as neural involvement in the development of diabetes, and therefore advance both basic and clinical knowledge of islet neurobiology.