Insulinoma-derived pseudo-islets for diabetes research

Nathaniel J. Hart, Craig Weber, Nicholas Price, Alma Banuelos, Madison Schultz, Barry Huey, Emily Harnois, Cyonna Gibson, Leah V. Steyn, Klearchos K. Papas, Ronald M. Lynch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The islets of Langerhans of the pancreas are the primary endocrine organ responsible for regulating whole body glucose homeostasis. The use of isolated primary islets for research development and training requires organ resection, careful digestion, and isolation of the islets from nonendocrine tissue. This process is time consuming, expensive, and requires substantial expertise. For these reasons, we sought to develop a more rapidly obtainable and consistent model system with characteristic islet morphology and function that could be employed to train personnel and better inform experiments prior to using isolated rodent and human islets. Immortalized b cell lines reflect several aspects of primary b cells, but cell propagation in monolayer cell culture limits their usefulness in several areas of research, which depend on islet morphology and/or functional assessment. In this manuscript, we describe the propagation and characterization of insulinoma pseudo-islets (IPIs) from a rat insulinoma cell line INS832/3. IPIs were generated with an average diameter of 200 μm, consistent with general islet morphology. The rates of oxygen consumption and mitochondrial oxidation-reduction changes in response to glucose and metabolic modulators were similar to isolated rat islets. In addition, the dynamic insulin secretory patterns of IPIs were similar to primary rat islets. Thus, INS832/3-derived IPIs provide a valuable and convenient model for accelerating islet and diabetes research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)C247-C256
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Cell Physiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2021


  • B cell
  • Diabetes
  • Insulin
  • Organoids
  • Pseudo-islet

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Cell Biology


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