Human Tissue Lab

The human tissue laboratory (HTL) is collaboration between EXODIAB and the Nordic Network for Clinical Islet Transplantation. The main tissue handled is human pancreatic islets. The islets are isolated at the islet isolation facility in Uppsala, primarily for transplantation purposes. A fraction of the islets that can not be used for transplantation, are upon agreed consent instead dedicated to research and distributed to research centers in Scandinavia including HTL.

We have RNA-sequencing data for islets from more than 200 donors, where 35 are diagnosed type 2 diabetics. The islets are characterized for their hormone secreting capacity, and we isolate RNA and DNA for use by all EXODIAB members. This is a unique material for studies of diabetes and has already resulted in numerous high impact publications.

From the Uppsala EXODIAB biobank, we kan also receive other tissues such as muscle, liver and adipose tissue which are targets for insulin action, blood vessels which are involved in development of complications, lymph nodes and spleen which are important tissues for assessing type 1 diabetes, and intestine which secretes hormones important for insulin secretion.

To have access to all tissues involved in the course of diabetes from the same individual gives us an outstanding opportunity to map the genetic and environmental factors that give rise to the disease. To this end RNA-sequencing will be performed to study differences in allele specific expression and splice isoform pattern between different human tissues. All data will be inserted in an internal database for shared use within EXODIAB.

Finally, receiving human donor material is a great opportunity coupled to great responsibilities. We strive for making the most efficient use of the donated tissue and for a handling that throughout adheres to the highest ethical standards.

  • Serve as a contact between transplantation surgeons, islet facility in Uppsala and end user scientists
  • Distribute human tissues to evaluated research projects within EXODIAB
  • Extract DNA and RNA from all tissues and store for future use.
  • Characterize tissues functionally e.g. hormone secretion assays
  • Perform global analysis of gene expression
  • Handle the human tissue database