Advancing Diabetes Research: a novel islet isolation method from living donors.

Eleonora Di Piazza, Laura Todi, Gianfranco Di Giuseppe, Laura Soldovieri, Gea Ciccarelli, Michela Brunetti, Giuseppe Quero, Sergio Alfieri, Vincenzo Tondolo, Alfredo Pontecorvi, Andrea Giaccari, Giovambattista Pani*, Teresa Mezza*

*Corresponding author

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Pancreatic islet isolation is critical for type 2 diabetes research. Although -omics approaches have shed light on islet molecular profiles, inconsistencies persist; on the other side, functional studies are essential, but they require reliable and standardized isolation methods. Here, we propose a simplified protocol applied to very small-sized samples collected from partially pancreatecto-mized living donors. Islet isolation was performed digesting tissue specimens collected during surgery within a collagenase P solution, followed by a Lympholyte density gradient separation; finally, functional assays and a staining with dithizone were carried out. Isolated pancreatic islets exhibited functional responses to glucose and arginine stimulation mirroring donors' metabolic profiles, with insulin secretion significantly decreasing in diabetic islets compared to non-diabetic islets; conversely, proinsulin secretion showed an increasing trend from non-diabetic to diabetic islets. This novel islet isolation method from living patients undergoing partial pancreatectomy offers a valuable opportunity for targeted study of islet physiology, with the primary advantage of being time-effective and successfully preserving islet viability and functionality. It enables the generation of islet preparations closely reflecting donors’ clinical profiles, simplifying the isola-tion process and eliminating the need for a Ricordi chamber. Thus, this method holds promises for advancing our understanding of diabetes and for new personalized pharmacological approaches.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-26
Number of pages26
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Publication statusPublished - 2024


  • pancreatic islets
  • type 2 diabetes
  • islet isolation
  • insulin secretion.


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