The Colours of Diabetes : advances and novel applications of molecular optical techniques for studies of the pancreas

University dissertation from Umeå : Umeå universitet

Abstract: Diabetes is a rapidly increasing health problem. In a global perspective,approximately 415 million people suffered from diabetes in 2015 and this number ispredicted to increase to 640 million by 2040. To tackle this pandemic there is a needfor better analytical tools by which we can increase our understanding of the disease.One discipline that has already provided much needed insight to diabetes etiology isoptical molecular imaging. Using various forms of light it is possible to create animage of the analysed sample that can provide information about molecularmechanistic aspects of the disease and to follow spatial and temporal dynamics.The overall aim of this thesis is to improve and adapt existing andnovel optical imaging approaches for their specific use in diabetes research. Hereby,we have focused on three techniques: (I) Optical projection tomography (OPT),which can be described as the optical equivalent of x-ray computed tomography(CT), and two vibrational microspectroscopic (VMS) techniques, which records theunique vibrational signatures of molecules building up the sample: (II) Fouriertransforminfrared vibrational microspectroscopy (FT-IR) and (III) Ramanvibrational microspectroscopy (Raman).The computational tools and hardware applications presented here generallyimprove OPT data quality, processing speed, sample size and channel capacity.Jointly, these developments enable OPT as a routine tool in diabetes research,facilitating aspects of e.g. pancreatic β-cell generation, proliferation,reprogramming, destruction and preservation to be studied throughout the pancreaticvolume and in large cohorts of experimental animals. Further, a novel application ofmultivariate analysis of VMS data derived from pancreatic tissues is introduced.This approach enables detection of novel biochemical alterations in the pancreasduring diabetes disease progression and can be used to confirm previously reportedbiochemical alterations, but at an earlier stage. Finally, our studies indicate thatRaman imaging is applicable to in vivo studies of grafted islets of Langerhans,allowing for longitudinal studies of pancreatic islet biochemistry.viIn summary, presented here are new and improved methods by which opticalimaging techniques can be utilised to study 3D-spatial, quantitative andmolecular/biochemical alterations of the normal and diseased pancreas.

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