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Journal of Transplantation
Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 202915, 14 pages
Review Article

Molecular Imaging: A Promising Tool to Monitor Islet Transplantation

Molecular Imaging Laboratory, MGH/MIT/HMS Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Charlestown, MA, 02129, USA

Received 31 May 2011; Accepted 29 July 2011

Academic Editor: Antonello Pileggi

Copyright © 2011 Ping Wang et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Replacement of insulin production by pancreatic islet transplantation has great potential as a therapy for type 1 diabetes mellitus. At present, the lack of an effective approach to islet grafts assessment limits the success of this treatment. The development of molecular imaging techniques has the potential to fulfill the goal of real-time noninvasive monitoring of the functional status and viability of the islet grafts. We review the application of a variety of imaging modalities for detecting endogenous and transplanted beta-cell mass. The review also explores the various molecular imaging strategies for assessing islet delivery, the metabolic effects on the islet grafts as well as detection of immunorejection. Here, we highlight the use of combined imaging and therapeutic interventions in islet transplantation and the in vivo monitoring of stem cells differentiation into insulin-producing cells.