Frontiers in Bioscience-Landmark (FBL) is published by IMR Press from Volume 26 Issue 5 (2021). Previous articles were published by another publisher on a subscription basis, and they are hosted by IMR Press on imrpress.com as a courtesy and upon agreement with Frontiers in Bioscience.
The development of non-invasive imaging methods for early diagnosis of beta cell associated metabolic diseases, including type 1 and type 2 diabetes (T1D and T2D), has recently drawn interest from the molecular imaging community and clinical investigators. Due to the challenges imposed by the location of the pancreas, the sparsely dispersed beta cell population within the pancreas, and the poor understanding of the pathogenesis of the diseases, clinical diagnosis of beta cell abnormalities is still limited. Current diagnostic methods are invasive, often inaccurate, and usually performed post-onset of the disease. Advances in imaging techniques for probing beta cell mass and function are needed to address this critical health care problem. A variety of imaging techniques have been tested for the assessment of pancreatic beta cell islets. Here we discuss current advances in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), bioluminescence imaging (BLI), and nuclear imaging for the study of beta cell diseases. Spurred by early successes in nuclear imaging techniques for beta cells, especially positron emission tomography (PET), the need for beta cell specific ligands has expanded. Progress for obtaining such ligands is presented. We report our preliminary efforts of developing such a peptidic ligand for PET imaging of pancreatic beta cells.