Microphysiological Analysis Platform of Pancreatic Islet β-Cell Spheroids

Sang Hun Lee, Soon Gweon Hong, Jihwan Song, Byungrae Cho, Esther J. Han, Sravani Kondapavulur, Dongchoul Kim, Luke P. Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Scopus citations


The hallmarks of diabetics are insufficient secretion of insulin and dysregulation of glucagon. It is critical to understand release mechanisms of insulin, glucagon, and other hormones from the islets of Langerhans. In spite of remarkable advancements in diabetes research and practice, robust and reproducible models that can measure pancreatic β-cell function are lacking. Here, a microphysiological analysis platform (MAP) that allows the uniform 3D spheroid formation of pancreatic β-cell islets, large-scale morphological phenotyping, and gene expression mapping of chronic glycemia and lipidemia development is reported. The MAP enables the scaffold-free formation of densely packed β-cell spheroids (i.e., multiple array of 110 bioreactors) surrounded with a perfusion flow network inspired by physiologically relevant microenvironment. The MAP permits dynamic perturbations on the β-cell spheroids and the precise controls of glycemia and lipidemia, which allow us to confirm that cellular apoptosis in the β-cell spheroid under hyperglycemia and hyperlipidemia is mostly dependent to a reactive oxygen species-induced caspase-mediated pathway. The β-cells' MAP might provide a potential new map in the pathophysiological mechanisms of β cells.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1701111
JournalAdvanced Healthcare Materials
Issue number2
StatePublished - 24 Jan 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
S.H.L. and H.H. contributed equally to this work. The authors acknowledge funding by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) (NIH-NCATS UH2NS080691). This work was also supported by the Global Research Lab Program (2013-050616) through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) was funded by the Ministry of Science, ICT (Information and Communication Technologies) and Future Planning.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim


  • 3D cell culture
  • diabetes
  • organ-on-chip
  • pancreatic islets
  • regenerative medicine


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