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Ultrasound stimulation of insulin release from pancreatic beta cells Open Access

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Type 2 diabetes (T2D) mellitus is a complex metabolic disease that has reached epidemic proportions in the United States and around the world. Controlling T2D is often difficult as pharmacological management routinely requires complex therapy with multiple medications, and loses its effectiveness over time. The objective of this dissertation was to explore a novel, non-pharmacological approach that utilizes the application of ultrasound energy to stimulate insulin release. Our experiments have focused on determination of effectiveness and safety of ultrasound application in stimulation of insulin release from the pancreatic beta cells. Our results showed that ultrasound treatment, applied at frequencies of 800 kHz and 1 MHz and intensities of 0.5 W/cm^2 and 1 W/cm^2, did not produce any significant effects on cell viability compared to sham group as assessed with trypan blue dye exclusion test and MTT cytotoxicity assay. ELISA quantification of insulin release from beta cells resulting from ultrasound treatment showed clinically-significant amounts of released insulin as compared to sham-treated beta cells. Carbon fiber amperometry detection of secretory events from dopamine-loaded beta cells treated with ultrasound showed that release of secretory content could be temporally controlled by careful selection of ultrasound parameters. Both ELISA and amperometry experiments demonstrated that ultrasound-stimulated insulin release is a calcium-dependent process, potentially mediated by the mechanical effects of ultrasound. This study demonstrated that therapeutic ultrasound is a technique capable of stimulating the release of insulin from pancreatic beta cells in a safe, effective and controlled manner.

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