Using the eye as a window into type 1 diabetes

Experiments in rodents have revealed that islets transplanted into the anterior chamber of the eye could be used as an early signal of type 1 diabetes

Mouse on hand

The anterior chamber of the eye could help to guide and improve the development of new treatments for type 1 diabetes, according to new research published in Diabetologia.
The research reports on experiments in rodents where islets were transplanted into the eye.

Scientists found that the islets in the anterior chamber of the eye exhibited signs of inflammation before diabetes symptoms became apparent.

Study co-author, Dr Midhat Abdulreda, from the Diabetes Research Institute at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, said: “The current research highlights the potential of anterior chamber of the eye islets in guiding and improving the development of new treatment modalities in type 1 diabetes prevention, as well as transplant applications, with the goal of eliminating systemic immunosuppression.”

Islet transplantation helps to restore insulin production in people with type 1 diabetes but, at present, they require life-long immunosuppression to prevent rejection of the donor cells.

The anti-rejection drugs can cause serious side effects and immune attack can still occur despite immunosuppression.

Image credit: Audrey_sel