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Åke Lernmark

Principal investigator

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Supravital dithizone staining in the isolation of human and rat pancreatic islets


  • W. A. Hansen
  • M. R. Christie
  • R. Kahn
  • A. Norgaard
  • I. Abel
  • A. M. Petersen
  • D. W. Jorgensen
  • S. Baekkeskov
  • J. H. Nielsen
  • A. Lernmark
  • J. Egeberg
  • H. Richter-Olesen
  • T. Grainger
  • J. K. Kristensen
  • S. Brynitz
  • T. Bilde

Summary, in English

Dithizone, a zinc chelating agent, is known to selectively stain the islets of Langerhans in the pancreas. In the present study, we have used this stain to aid the identification of islets in material obtained by collagenase digestion of human pancreas. Islets were shown to rapidly and reversibly stain red on incubation with dithizone solution. Tissue selected on the basis of dithizone staining was shown to contain insulin-positive cells and to accumulate insulin in the medium during a subsequent period in tissue culture. Experiments with rat islets indicated that the dithizone treatment had no effect on insulin release in tissue culture, on acute responses to stimulatory glucose concentrations or on the insulin content of cells. These results suggest that dithizone staining can assist in the identification of islets from the human pancreas and may prove to be a useful tool in developing techniques for the large scale isolation of functionally intact human islets.

Publishing year







Diabetes Research





Document type

Journal article






  • ISSN: 0265-5985