The density of parasympathetic axons is reduced in the exocrine pancreas of individuals recently diagnosed with type 1 diabetes
by Marcus Lundberg, Andreas Lindqvist, Nils Wierup, Lars Krogvold, Knut Dahl-Jørgensen, Oskar SkogTo elucidate the etiology of type 1 diabetes, the affected pancreas needs to be thoroughly characterized. Pancreatic innervation has been suggested to be involved in the pathology of the disease and a reduction of sympathetic innervation of the islets was recently reported. In the present study, we hypothesized that parasympathetic innervation would be altered in the type 1 diabetes pancreas. Human pancreatic specimens were obtained from a unique cohort of individuals with recent onset or long standing type 1 diabetes. Density of parasympathetic axons was assessed by immunofluorescence and morphometry. Our main finding was a reduced density of parasympathetic axons in the exocrine, but not endocrine compartment of the pancreas in individuals with recent onset type 1 diabetes. The reduced density of parasympathetic axons in the exocrine compartment could have functional implications, e.g. be related to the exocrine insufficiency reported in type 1 diabetes patients. Further studies are needed to understand whether reduced parasympathetic innervation is a cause or consequence of type 1 diabetes.
Publisher URL: http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article
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