Non-invasive imaging of endocrine pancreatic function could provide valuable insights into the magnitude and temporal pattern of β-cell dysfunction in diabetes. Islets comprise 1-2% of pancreatic mass, but receive about 10-20% of pancreatic blood flow, which increases further during stimulation of insulin secretion. We examined the relationship between pancreatic blood flow (PBF) and insulin secretory dynamics in 12 healthy volunteers (6M / 6F, age = 29 ± 5 yrs, BMI = 24.0 ± 2.7 kg/m², HbA1c = 5.1 ± 0.3 %, FPG = 88 ± mg/dl, fasting insulin = 3.7 ± 2.3 μU/ml) . PBF was measured by pseudo-continuous arterial spin labeling (ASL) MRI, with the labeling plane positioned 5-6 cm superior to the imaging slice to label blood in the descending aorta. Fasting subjects were placed in a 3T scanner, and PBF was measured during

  • 1) a 15 min basal period,

  • 2) a +100 mg/dl hyperglycemic clamp for 40 min, followed by

  • 3) a 5 gm bolus of arginine to assess maximal acute insulin response (AIRmax) .

First phase (0-min) insulin response to hyperglycemia was 181 ± 96 μU/ml · min, and AIRmax after arginine + hyperglycemia (40-50 min) was 1097 ± 629 μU/ml · min. Basal PBF (188 ± 53 ml/100 gm/min) increased during first phase insulin release, peaking at 212 ± 66 at 12 min, subsequently returned to basal levels (176 ± 59) from 10-40 min during sustained hyperglycemia,and peaked again at 2± 62 at 2 min after arginine. Although there were no significant correlations between glucose, insulin or c-peptide levels and PBF, time-series Granger causality analysis demonstrated that the time-derivative of c-peptide and insulin concentrations, reflectingacute changes in insulin secretion, preceded the increase in PBF (p=0.03 for d[c-peptide]/dt, and p = 0.for d[insulin]/dt) . Conclusions:
  • 1) Changes in PBF during stimulation of insulin secretion in humans can be imaged non-invasively by ASL,

  • 2) Insulin secretion precedes changes in PBF, and

  • 3) The rate of change in insulin and c-peptide release predicts subsequent modulation of PBF.


D.C.Simonson: Stock/Shareholder; GI Windows, Phase V Technologies, Inc. M.Taso: Research Support; GE Healthcare Systems. C.Mcgrath: None. S.A.Waldman: None. F.Papadopoulou: None. D.C.Alsop: Other Relationship; GE Healthcare Systems, Hitachi, Ltd., Philips Healthcare, Siemens, UIH America, Research Support; GE Healthcare Systems.

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