Eriksson O, Espes D, Selvaraju RK, Jansson E, Antoni G, Sörensen J, Lubberink M, Biglarnia AR, Eriksson JW, Sundin A, Ahlström H, Eriksson B, Johansson L, Carlsson PO, Korsgren O
Diabetes 63 (10) 3428-3437 [2014-10-00; online 2014-05-21]
In humans, a well-developed serotonin system is localized to the pancreatic islets while being absent in exocrine pancreas. Assessment of pancreatic serotonin biosynthesis could therefore be used to estimate the human endocrine pancreas. Proof of concept was tested in a prospective clinical trial by comparisons of type 1 diabetic (T1D) patients, with extensive reduction of β-cells, with healthy volunteers (HVs). C-peptide-negative (i.e., insulin-deficient) T1D subjects (n = 10) and HVs (n = 9) underwent dynamic positron emission tomography with the radiolabeled serotonin precursor [(11)C]5-hydroxy-tryptophan ([(11)C]5-HTP). A significant accumulation of [(11)C]5-HTP was obtained in the pancreas of the HVs, with large interindividual variation. A substantial and highly significant reduction (66%) in the pancreatic uptake of [(11)C]5-HTP in T1D subjects was observed, and this was most evident in the corpus and caudal regions of the pancreas where β-cells normally are the major constituent of the islets. [(11)C]5-HTP retention in the pancreas was reduced in T1D compared with nondiabetic subjects. Accumulation of [(11)C]5-HTP in the pancreas of both HVs and subjects with T1D was in agreement with previously reported morphological observations on the β-cell volume, implying that [(11)C]5-HTP retention is a useful noninvasive surrogate marker for the human endocrine pancreas.