Functional clustering of pancreatic islet cells using concave microwell array

Jin Wook Hwang, Bo Ram Lee, Min Jin Jung, Hae Song Jung, Yong Hwa Hwang, Min Jun Kim, Sang Hoon Lee, Dong Yun Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


Pancreatic islet transplantation is an ideal therapy for type I diabetes. Interestingly, small size of islets may exhibit superior performance in transplantation in terms of function and hypoxia. To this end, large size of islets was dissociated to generate islet single cells and they were re-aggregated to make small size of islet-cell-cluster (ICC). However, the function of insulin secretion from ICCs was damaged due to weak cell-to-cell interaction. To overcome this limitation, here the dispersed islet single cells were re-aggregated at the concave microwell array that was fabricated with poly(dimethylsiloxane) (PDMS) by using soft-lithography and mold-replication technology. The aggregated ICCs had uniform size, and their insulin secretion in response to the change of low and high glucose concentration was similar to that of intact islets since the cell-cell interaction of islet single cells was strongly induced due to the shape of concave microwell. Also, after cultivation for 2 weeks, the expression of hypoxia-induced factor- 1α(HIF-1α; a hypoxia marker protein) in the ICCs was rare; meaning that hypoxic state in the central area of ICCs was attenuated. On the other hand, the ICCs generated in flat-bottomed wells had abnormal insulin secretion caused by weak cell-to-cell interaction. In addition, after cultivation for 2 weeks, the generated ICCs in flat-bottomed well had weak signal of HIF-1α, while intact islets had its strong signal. Therefore, new culture system using concave microwell array may be a promising alternative to success fully prepare functional ICCs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1320-1326
Number of pages7
JournalMacromolecular Research
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2011 Dec


  • concave microwell array
  • hypoxia
  • insulin secretion
  • islet cell cluster
  • viability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemical Engineering
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Materials Chemistry


Dive into the research topics of 'Functional clustering of pancreatic islet cells using concave microwell array'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this