The isolated pancreatic islet as a micro-organ and its transplantation to cure diabetes: Celebrating the legacy of Paul Lacy

 Abstract

Over the past three decades the pancreatic islet of Langerhans has taken center stage as an endocrine micro-organ whose glucoregulatory function is highly explicable on the basis of the increasingly well understood activities of three highly interactive secretory cells. Islet dysfunction underlies both type 1 and type 2 diabetes mellitus (DM); its protection from immune attack and gluco-and lipo-toxicty may prevent the development of DM; and its replacement by non-surgical transplantation may be curative of DM. During a career marked by vision, focus and tenacity, Paul Lacy contributed substantially to the development of each of these concepts. In this review we focus on Lacy’s contribution to the development of the concept of the islet as a micro-organ, how this foreshadowed our current detailed understanding of single cell function and cell-cell interactions and how this led to a reduced model of islet function encouraging islet transplantation. Next, we examine how clinical allotransplantation, first undertaken by Lacy, has contributed to a more complex view of the interaction of islet endocrine cells with its circulation and neighboring tissues, both “in situ” and after transplantation. Lastly, we consider recent developments in some alternative approaches to treatment of DM that Lacy could glimpse on the horizon but did not have the chance to participate in.

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Pages
210 - 224
doi
10.4161/isl.2.4.12156
Type
Review
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The isolated pancreatic islet as a micro-organ and its transplantation to cure diabetes: Celebrating the legacy of Paul Lacy