ZFIN ID: ZDB-PUB-130611-24
Imaging Beta cell regeneration and interactions with islet vasculature in transparent adult zebrafish
Moss, L.G., Caplan, T.V., and Moss, J.B.
Blood vessel networks provide nutrients and gaseous exchange that are essential for functions. Pancreatic islet capillaries deliver oxygen to endocrine cells while transporting hormones to organs and peripheral locations throughout the body. We have developed a zebrafish diabetes model in which adult islets can be followed in vivo during beta cell regeneration while calibrating changes in beta cell mass and fasting blood glucose levels. After genetic ablation, beta cells are initially dysfunctional or dying, and blood glucose levels increase fourfold. During a 2-week period, hyperglycemia eventually normalizes as beta cell mass regenerates. We show that mCherry-fluorescent, insulin-positive beta cells re-emerge in close contact with the vascular endothelium. Alterations in the dense vascular network of zebrafish islets were visualized by the expression of green fluorescent protein (GFP) in endothelial cells derived from the Fli transcription factor promoter. The rapid destruction and regeneration of beta cell mass was evaluated in the same animal over time, providing a functional model for investigating the interactions of islet cell types with vascular cells as well as the consequences of hyperglycemia on other tissues. Regenerating adult zebrafish can be utilized as vertebrate, metabolically active models for generating new insights into treatments for type 2 diabetes.