Pancreatic Islet Cell Biology Core


The objective of the Islet Cell Biology Core is to provide DRC members with state of the art support including experimental design, islet isolation, and performance of and/or training in an expansive range of assays for physiological and morphometric assessment of pancreatic islet function and growth. We also enlist unique expertise of newly interested faculty to adapt existing technologies to solve unique problems that cannot be addressed by standard methodologies. For example, new ties with our Physiology Department promise an expansion of consultation and services to study membrane biophysics critical for understanding normal and diseased islet cells.

Core Functions

Failure of insulin secreting pancreatic beta cells characterizes the progression of all forms of diabetes. The
ICBC is thus positioned to contribute in a significant manner to the basic and translational research activities of
the Institute of Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism (IDOM) at the Perelman School of Medicine of the University
of Pennsylvania. The ICBC has developed exceptional expertise in working with human and rodent pancreatic
islet tissue, acquiring instrumentation and establishing procedures that are not readily available to the average


We offer a range of services that generally begin with islet isolation from rodent animal models and may be
followed by a period of culture by the core for as long as 7 days. Islet hormone secretion can be assessed in
static “batch” incubations or by more informative perifusions that require larger numbers of islets and
expensive immunoassays, routinely for insulin and upon request for glucagon and cAMP. The core may
provide these services in an ongoing manner or it may provide critical training to allow the investigator
laboratory to perform the experiments independently over time. The core also has the advanced technology
and expertise to perform individual islet and single cell fluorescence imaging (Cai 2+), respirometry with islet
batches using a Seahorse Extracellular Flux Analyzer, perifusion coupled with respirometry, and “closed”
respirometry experiments for our investigators.

The ICBC currently provides the following services:

Islet isolation and culture:
Hormone Secretion:

Mitochondrial Function:

Intracellular calcium imaging:

Free intracellular Ca2+ measurements using new instrumentation for state of the art fluorescence imaging (Zeiss Observer.Z1 with AxioVision softwere).


New Electrophysiology Service Initiative:


Training and Education:

The ICBC provides training for graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and research staff in:


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Islet Cell Biology Core


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