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Improved Assessment Of Isolated Islet Tissue Volume Using Digital Image Analysis

Jan P. Stegemann, John J. O'Neil, Don T. Nicholson, Claudy J.-P. Mullon

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Accurate and consistent measurement of tissue volume is critical to performing many types of islet research; however, conventional visual determination of isolated islet yields through a microscope is heavily operator dependent. An improved method of islet volume determination using digital image analysis (DIA) was developed to remove operator bias and automate the islet counting process. A series of 140 porcine islet isolations were used to evaluate the DIA method in three separate stages. In Stage 1 ( n = 29 isolations), the conventional and DIA methods were correlated with two other independent islet quantitation methods: insulin extraction, and DNA extraction. It was found that volumes determined by DIA correlated more closely with insulin content and DNA content than did conventionally determined volumes. In Stages 2 and 3 ( n = 54 and 57 isolations, respectively), it was shown that an increase in the number of fields analyzed by DIA did not significantly improve the quality of the correlations. Inclusion of very small tissue (<50 fun in diameter), which is ignored in the conventional protocol affected yields by less than 10% and did not significantly improve the correlation with insulin or DNA content. Quantitation of isolated islet tissue volume using DIA has been shown to be rapid, consistent, and objective. In the laboratory, use of this method as the standard for islet volume measurement will allow more meaningful comparison of experimental results between centers. In the clinic, its use will allow more accurate dosing of transplanted tissue. © 1998 Elsevier Science Inc.