Isolated mouse pancreatic islets in culture: Effects of serum and different culture media on the insulin production of the islets


Various conditions for tissue culture of collagenase-isolated mouse pancreatic islets were studied in an attempt to optimize the maintenance of glucose stimulated insulin biosynthesis and release in the cultured specimens. Islets which had been cultured at a physiological glucose concentration (5.5 mmol/l) in the absence of serum had an impaired glucose-stimulated insulin biosynthesis and release as well as a reduced insulin content. Thus, insulin biosynthesis was three times higher after culture in a serum supplemented medium. Further, the insulin secretion of islets cultured in the presence of serum was markedly enhanced in acute incubations with high concentrations of glucose. This response was most pronounced in islets which had been cultured free-floating. A comparison between different culture media showed that islets cultured in RPMI 1640 had the highest insulin production. The present data suggest that the most favourable conditions for long-term storage of isolated islets in culture may be obtained when the islets are maintained as free-floating explants in a culture medium consisting of RPMI 1640 supplemented with serum.


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Andersson, A. Isolated mouse pancreatic islets in culture: Effects of serum and different culture media on the insulin production of the islets. Diabetologia 14, 397–404 (1978).

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Key words

  • Pancreatic islets
  • tissue culture
  • calf serum
  • culture media
  • insulin secretion
  • insulin content
  • insulin biosynthesis