Noninvasive in vivo imaging of embryonic β-cell development in the anterior chamber of the eye

Corentin Cras-Méneur, Lynda Elghazi, Patrice Fort, Ernesto Bernal-Mizrachi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


The fetal environment plays a decisive role in modifying the risk for developing diabetes later in life. Developing novel methodology for noninvasive imaging of β-cell development in vivo under the controlled physiological conditions of the host can serve to understand how this environment affects b-cell growth and differentiation. A number of culture models have been designed for pancreatic rudiment but none match the complexity of the in utero or even normal physiological environment. Speier et al. recently developed a platform of noninvasive in vivo imaging of pancreatic islets using the anterior chamber of the eye where islets get vascularized, grow and respond to physiological changes. The same methodology was adapted for the study of pancreatic development. E13.0, still undifferentiated rudiments with fluorescent lineage tracing were implanted in the AC of the eye, allowing the longitudinal study of their growth and differentiation. Within 48 h the anlages get vascularized and grow but their mesenchyme displays a selective growth advantage. The resulting imbalance leads to alteration in the differentiation pattern of the progenitors. Reducing the mesenchyme to its bare minimum before implantation allows the restoration of a proper balance and a development that mimics the normal pancreatic development. These groundbreaking observations demonstrate that the anterior chamber of the eye provides a good system for noninvasive in vivo fluorescence imaging of the developing pancreas under the physiology of the host and can have important implications for designing strategies to prevent or reverse the deleterious effects of hyperglycemia on altering β-cell function later in life.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)35-47
Number of pages13
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 7 2016


  • Animal mouse
  • Basic science
  • Imaging (MRI/PET/other)
  • In vivo
  • Islet development
  • Metabolic physiology
  • Other techniques
  • Pregnancy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology


Dive into the research topics of 'Noninvasive in vivo imaging of embryonic β-cell development in the anterior chamber of the eye'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this