Skip to main content
SLU publication database (SLUpub)
Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2016

Silk matrices promote formation of insulin-secreting islet-like clusters

Shalaly, Nancy Dekki; Ria, Massimiliano; Johansson, Ulrika; Avall, Karin; Berggren, Per-Olof; Hedhammar, My


Ex vivo expansion of endocrine cells constitutes an interesting alternative to be able to match the unmet need of transplantable pancreatic islets. However, endocrine cells become fragile once removed from their extracellular matrix (ECM) and typically become senescent and loose insulin expression during conventional 2D culture. Herein we develop a protocol where 3D silk matrices functionalized with ECM derived motifs are used for generation of insulin-secreting islet-like clusters from mouse and human primary cells. The obtained clusters were shown to attain an islet-like spheroid shape and to maintain functional insulin release upon glucose stimulation in vitro. Furthermore, in vivo imaging of transplanted murine clusters showed engraftment with increasing vessel formation during time. There was no sign of cell death and the clusters maintained or increased in size throughout the period, thus suggesting a suitable cluster size for transplantation. (C) 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Recombinant spider silk; Pancreatic islets; Islet-like clusters; Insulin release; In vivo imaging; Vascularization

Published in

2016, Volume: 90, pages: 50-61

      Sustainable Development Goals

      SDG3 Good health and well-being

      UKÄ Subject classification

      Biomaterials Science

      Publication Identifiers


      Permanent link to this page (URI)