Large-scale electron microscopy database for human type 1 diabetes

Pascal de Boer, Nicole M Pirozzi, Anouk H G Wolters, Jeroen Kuipers, Irina Kusmartseva, Mark A Atkinson, Martha Campbell-Thompson, Ben N G Giepmans*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

44 Citations (Scopus)
127 Downloads (Pure)


Autoimmune β-cell destruction leads to type 1 diabetes, but the pathophysiological mechanisms remain unclear. To help address this void, we created an open-access online repository, unprecedented in its size, composed of large-scale electron microscopy images ('nanotomy') of human pancreas tissue obtained from the Network for Pancreatic Organ donors with Diabetes (nPOD; Nanotomy allows analyses of complete donor islets with up to macromolecular resolution. Anomalies we found in type 1 diabetes included (i) an increase of 'intermediate cells' containing granules resembling those of exocrine zymogen and endocrine hormone secreting cells; and (ii) elevated presence of innate immune cells. These are our first results of mining the database and support recent findings that suggest that type 1 diabetes includes abnormalities in the exocrine pancreas that may induce endocrine cellular stress as a trigger for autoimmunity.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2475
Number of pages9
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 18-May-2020


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