Pseudoislets as primary islet replacements for research: report on a symposium at King's College London, London UK

Shanta J. Persaud, Catherine Arden, Peter Bergsten, Adrian J. Bone, James Brown, Simon Dunmore, Moria Harrison, Astrid Hauge-Evans, Catriona Kelly, Aileen King, Tania Maffucci, Claire E. Marriott, Neville McClenaghan, Noel G. Morgan, Christina Reers, Mark A. Russell, Mark D. Turner, Emma Willoughby, Mustafa Y.G. Younis, Z.L. ZhiPeter M. Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Laboratory-based research aimed at understanding processes regulating insulin secretion and mechanisms underlying ß-cell dysfunction and loss in diabetes often makes use of rodents, as these processes are in many respects similar between rats/mice and humans. Indeed, a rough calculation suggests that islets have been isolated from as many as 150,000 rodents to generate the data contained within papers published in 2009 and the first four months of 2010. Rodent use for islet isolation has been mitigated, to a certain extent, by the availability of a variety of insulin-secreting cell lines that are used by researchers world-wide. However, when maintained as monolayers the cell lines do not replicate the robust, sustained secretory responses of primary islets which limits their usefulness as islet surrogates. On the other hand, there have been several reports that configuration of MIN6 ß-cells, derived from a mouse insulinoma, as three-dimensional cell clusters termed ‘pseudoislets’ largely recapitulates the function of primary islet ß-cells. The Diabetes Research Group at King’s College London has been using the MIN6 pseudoislet model for over a decade and they hosted a symposium on “Pseudoislets as primary islet replacements for research”, which was funded by the UK National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research (NC3Rs), in London on 15th and 16th April 2010. This small, focused meeting was conceived as an opportunity to consolidate information on experiences of working with pseudoislets between different UK labs, and to introduce the theory and practice of pseudoislet culture to laboratories working with islets and/or ß-cell lines but who do not currently use pseudoislets. This short review summarizes the background to the development of the cell line-derived pseudoislet model, the key messages arising from the symposium and emerging themes for future pseudoislet research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)236-239
Number of pages4
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2010


  • beta-cell function
  • islet substitutes
  • MIN6 cells
  • pseudoislets
  • insulin secretion
  • symposium


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