Pancreatic β cells are responsible for insulin secretion and are important for glucose regulation in a healthy body and diabetic disease patient without prelabeling of islets. While the conventional biomarkers for diabetes have been glucose and insulin concentrations in the blood, the direct determination of the pancreatic β cell mass would provide critical information for the disease status and progression. By combining fluorination and diversity-oriented fluorescence library strategy, we have developed a multimodal pancreatic β cell probe PiF for both fluorescence and for PET (positron emission tomography). By simple tail vein injection, PiF stains pancreatic β cells specifically and allows intraoperative fluorescent imaging of pancreatic islets. PiF-injected pancreatic tissue even facilitated an antibody-free islet analysis within 2 h, dramatically accelerating the day-long histological procedure without any fixing and dehydration step. Not only islets in the pancreas but also the low background of PiF in the liver allowed us to monitor the intraportal transplanted islets, which is the first in vivo visualization of transplanted human islets without a prelabeling of the islets. Finally, we could replace the built-in fluorine atom in PiF with radioactive 18F and successfully demonstrate in situ PET imaging for pancreatic islets.
This work was supported by the Institute for Basic Science (IBS, IBS-R077-A1, Korea), Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR, 15302FG148, Singapore), the Bio & Medical Technology Development Program (NRF-2015M3A9E2030125, Korea), the Creative Materials Discovery Program (NRF-2017M3D1A1039289, Korea), the Korea Health Industry Development Institute (KHIDI; HI18C0453), and the Korea Health Technology R&D Project though KHIDI (HI19C-0316-010019).