New measure of insulin-making cells could gauge diabetes progression, treatment

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Baseline PET scan exhibits uptake of manganese chloride tracer in mouse pancreas, in research on the University of Wisconsin-Madison department of radiology. Signal is enormously decreased in mice given a drug that inhibits insulin production, and conversely, intensified in mice given a stimulator of insulin manufacturing. Credit: Reinier Hernandez et al UW-Madison, Diabetes, August, 2017.

Researchers at the College of Wisconsin-Madison have developed a new measurement for the quantity and exercise of beta cells, the source of the sugar-regulating hormone insulin.

In a research revealed in the August version of the journal Diabetes, Weibo Cai and colleagues used a PET scanner to detect minute ranges of a radioactive chemical within the mouse pancreas. Cai, the senior writer of the research and an affiliate professor of radiology, says that in contrast to previous strategies for measuring the quantity of beta cells, the new check additionally measures how actively these cells are making insulin.


PET scanning, or positron emission tomography, is used to detect minute portions of tracers, generally for finding most cancers and metastases. This area is a specialty of Cai. Cai says the check could also be used to guage treatments or cell transplants meant to sluggish or reverse diabetes.

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