Evaluation of impaired β-cell function in nonobese-diabetic (NOD) mouse model using bioluminescence imaging

Dror Sever, Roy Eldor, Gadi Sadoun, Livnat Amior, Daniele Dubois, Christian Boitard, Claude Aflalo, Danielle Melloul

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Insulin-producing pancreatic β cells are functionally impaired or destroyed in diabetes mellitus. The onset of type 1 diabetes (T1D) represents the culmination of a prolonged prediabetic phase of immune-mediated β-cell destruction. To assess the in vivo metabolic status of these cells, we used the ATPsensitive firefly luciferase bioluminescence imaging approach, as a noninvasive probe to monitor pathological alterations in β-cell function in the nonobese-diabetic (NOD) mouse model of T1D. Hence, we generated the ToIβ-NOD transgenic mice in which doxycycline-inducible luciferase gene is selectively expressed in β cells. A sharp reduction in bioluminescence emitted in vivo from β cells at the early stages, preceded by several weeks of a limited reduction in β-cell mass. Since this decline could be due to the ongoing inflammatory process occurring in vivo, we exposed control islets to inflammatory cytokines and observed a dramatic decrease in luciferase luminescence, which appears to be due in part to a decrease in protein levels and a drop in intracellular ATP levels. This is the first evidence that selective expression of the luciferase gene represents a sensitive method for noninvasive in vivo monitoring of early β-cell dysfunction, subtle metabolic changes, such as endogenous ATP levels, indicative of a pathological condition in a tissue at the cellular level.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)676-684
Number of pages9
JournalFASEB Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2011


  • Cytokines
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Firefly luciferase
  • β-cell mass

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


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