The first cellular movies showing the destruction underlying type-1 diabetes in real-time in mouse models have been created by scientists.
Researchers at the La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology have provided a detailed, dynamic view, which will provide insights into the disease process as never before possible and may profoundly affect future directions in type-1 diabetes research.
"We are presenting the first images at cellular resolution of type 1 diabetes as-it-unfolds," said Matthias von Herrath, MD one of the world's top type-1 diabetes researchers and director of the Diabetes Research Center at the La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology.
In the movies, objects resembling ants can be seen furiously scampering about looking for their prey.
The 'ants' are actually immune system T cells, the body's cellular soldiers. The 'prey' is insulin-producing beta cells, which the T cells mistakenly attack and destroy, eventually leading to type-1 diabetes.
"Being able to view these insulin-producing cells while they interact in the pancreas, rather than in a static state under the microscope, will greatly enhance our ability... to find interventions for type 1 diabetes," Herrath said.
The team's findings and the cellular movies taken by the researchers have been published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.