UNIVERSITY OF MIAMI
The role of innervation for hormone secretion in human islets. Understanding the biology of the endocrine pancreas, the islets of Langerhans, is crucial for any type of therapy for diabetes mellitus, a devastating disease affecting millions worldwide. The relative role of innervation for islet hormone secretion has remained elusive and has been a matter of a long-standing debate. There is strong evidence that autonomic activation plays a major role in several animal species, but it is unclear whether this is the case in human beings. Without this knowledge, the model for the regulation of glucose homeostasis is incomplete. The proposed work will demonstrate the role of innervation for human islet cell function. It capitalizes on a new technological platform developed by our group allowing for the first time in vivo imaging of innervated islets. As a major expected outcome we will obtain a comprehensive picture of islet innervation, which will have a strong impact on current models of islet regulation of glucose homeostasis.