, Volume 20, Issue 6, pp 654–663 | Cite as

A method for the purification of single A, B and D cells and for the isolation of coupled cells from isolated rat islets

  • D. G. Pipeleers
  • M. A. Pipeleers-Marichal


A method has been developed for the purification of single A, B and D cells and for the isolation of coupled islet cells. Isolated rat islets were dissociated by repeated pipetting in the presence of trypsin and ethylene glycol bis (β-aminoethyl ether) N, N′ tetra-acetic acid (EGTA), and then filtered through nylon and Percoll; the cell preparation consisted of 70% single and 30% coupled cells. Sizing of the cells led to the recognition of a small-islet cell population (35%; cell volume 200–600 μm3) composed of A and D cells, and a large-islet cell population (65%; cell volume 600–1500 μm3) identified as B cells. Differences in sedimentation velocity formed the basis for the islet cell separation by counterflow elutriation. Single islet cells eluted prior to coupled cells and were distributed over A and D cell-enriched fractions I and II (65% A, 25% B, 10% D) and the B cell-enriched fraction III (93% B). The slightly different densities of A (d=1.068), B (d=1.065) and D (d=1.070) cells allowed a subsequent purification by density gradient centrifugation resulting in a final 10- to 30-fold enrichment in either A, B or D cells. Most coupled islet cells were recovered in fraction IV, occurred mainly as doublets and were composed of 90% B cells and 7% D cells; the multiple pseudopods, which characterize isolated D cells, might contribute to the coupling tendency of the D cells. It is concluded that the purified A, B and D cell fractions and the coupled islet cell preparations offer a direct approach to the study of individual islet cell types and their intercellular communication.

Key words

Islets cells elutriation insulin glucagon somatostatin coupling 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. G. Pipeleers
    • 1
  • M. A. Pipeleers-Marichal
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Metabolism and Endocrinology Fakulteit Geneeskunde en FarmacieVrije UniversiteitBrusselBelgium
  2. 2.Department of Pathology, Fakulteit Geneeskunde en FarmacieVrije UniversiteitBrusselBelgium

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