Towards the development of a bioartificial pancreas: Immunoisolation and NMR monitoring of mouse insulinomas

A. Sambanis, K. K. Papas, P. C. Flanders, R. C. Long, H. Kang, I. Constantinidis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


A promising method for diabetes treatment is the implantation of immunoisolated cells secreting insulin in response to glucose. Cell availability limits the application of this approach at a medically-relevant scale. We explore the use of transformed cells that can be grown to large homogeneous populations in developing artificial pancreatic tissues. We also investigate the use of NMR in evaluating, non-invasively, cellular bioenergetics in the tissue environment. The system employed in this study consisted of mouse insulinoma βTC3 cells entrapped in calcium alginate/poly-L-lysine (PPL)/alginate beads. The PPL layer imposed a molecular weight cutoff of approximately 60 kDa, allowing nutrients and insulin to diffuse through but excluding high molecular weight antibodies and cytotoxic cells of the host. We fabricated a radiofrequency coil that can be double-tuned to1H and31P, and an NMR-compatible perfusion bioreactor and support circuit that can maintain cells viable during prolonged studies. The bioreactor operated differentially, was macroscopically homogeneous and allowed the acquisition of1H images and31P NMR spectra in reasonable time intervals. Results indicated that entrapment had little effect on cell viability; that insulin secretion from beads was responsive to glucose; and that the bioenergetics of perfused, entrapped cells were not grossly different from those of cells never subjected to the immobilization procedure. These findings offer promise for developing an artificial pancreatic tissue for diabetes treatment based on continuous cell lines.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)351-363
Number of pages13
Issue number1-3
StatePublished - Feb 1994


  • NMR
  • bioartificial pancreas
  • immunoisolation
  • βTC3 cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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