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Dissecting Diabetes Module

Interesting web sites

Objectives [top]

Upon completion of this module, you will be able to:

  1. Know the difference between the endocrine and exocrine pancreas.
  2. Identify the islets of Langerhans and know the function of its cells.
  3. Understand how environmental or genetic factors influence islets and diabetes.
  4. Discuss how microscopy can be used for research.

Activities [top]

  1. Discuss glucose metabolism, diabetes, the pancreas, and the islets of Langerhans.
  2. Observe mouse models for diabetes research.
  3. Perform staining of pancreas sections of microscope slides with hematoxylin and eosin (H&E).
    • Xylene 5 min 2X
    • 100% EtOH 1 min
    • 95% EtOH 1 min
    • 80% EtOH 1 min
    • 70% EtOH 1 min
    • dH2O

    Staining [You will start here.]

    • Hematoxylin 2 min
    • Rinse dH2O
    • Acid Alcohol 2 sec (.1% HCL in 50% EtOH)
    • Rinse Tap Water 5 min
    • Eosin 1 min
    • Rinse in a few quick changes of dH2O


    • 95% EtOH about 1 min as needed
    • 100% EtOH 1 min
    • Xylene 2 min 2X
    • Coverslip [Your instructors will do this step.]
  4. Observe H&E staining of pancreas sections with a microscope. [You will start again here.]
  5. Discuss other ways to stain the pancreas and identify the specific cell types of the islet.
  6. Recap how microscopy can be used to observe the progression of diabetes.

Questions [top]

  1. What cells make up the islets of Langerhans and what do they do?
  2. Are islets of Langerhans consistent in size and shape or do they vary?
  3. What percentage of the pancreas contains islets?
  4. Can environmental factors change the appearance and size of islets?

Interesting websites [top] - Site from the National Instite of Health contains statistics about diabetes and ample introductory material about the disease. - Site from the American Diabetes Association provides the basics about diabetes as well as news and research related to diabetes.

Note: Images from the following sites: