Scientists have created the first cellular movies showing the destruction underlying type-1 diabetes in real-time in mouse models.
Researchers at the La Jolla Institute for Allergy & Immunology have provided a detailed, dynamic view, which will provide insights into the disease process as never before possible and may profoundly affect future directions in type-1 diabetes research.
“We are presenting the first images at cellular resolution of type 1 diabetes as-it-unfolds,” said Matthias von Herrath, MD one of the world’s top type-1 diabetes researchers and director of the Diabetes Research Center at the La Jolla Institute for Allergy & Immunology.
In the movies, objects resembling ants can be seen furiously scampering about looking for their prey.
The ‘ants’ are actually immune system T cells, the body’s cellular soldiers. The ‘prey’ is insulin-producing beta cells, which the T cells mistakenly attack and destroy, eventually leading to type-1 diabetes.
“Being able to view these insulin-producing cells while they interact in the pancreas, rather than in a static state under the microscope, will greatly enhance our ability… to find interventions for type 1 diabetes,” Herrath said.
The team’s findings and the cellular movies taken by the researchers have been published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.