In vivo imaging of beta cells with radiotracers: state of the art, prospects and recommendations for development and use

Olof Eriksson, Maren Laughlin, Maarten Brom, Pirjo Nuutila, MIchael Roden, Albert Hwa, Riccardo Bonadonna, Martin Gotthardt

Research output: Contribution to journalReview Article or Literature Reviewpeer-review

61 Citations (Scopus)


Radiotracer imaging is characterised by high in vivo sensitivity, with a detection limit in the lower picomolar range. Therefore, radiotracers represent a valuable tool for imaging pancreatic beta cells. High demands are made of radiotracers for in vivo imaging of beta cells. Beta cells represent only a small fraction of the volume of the pancreas (usually 1-3%) and are scattered in the tiny islets of Langerhans throughout the organ. In order to be able to measure a beta cell-specific signal, one has to rely on highly specific tracer molecules because current in vivo imaging technologies do not allow the resolution of single islets in humans non-invasively. Currently, a considerable amount of preclinical data are available for several radiotracers and three are under clinical evaluation. We summarise the current status of the evaluation of these tracer molecules and put forward recommendations for their further evaluation.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)1340–1349
Number of pages10
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2016
MoE publication typeA2 Review article in a scientific journal


  • Beta cell
  • Beta cell imaging
  • Diabetes
  • Exendin
  • Islet imaging
  • Islets of Langerhans
  • PET
  • Review

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