Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science




Dr. David Hill

Second Advisor

Dr. Edith Arany

Third Advisor

Dr. Rennian Wang


The fetal development of the islets of Langerhans is dependent on bidirectional signalling with the surrounding capillary bed, to develop into the appropriate cell type. The neonatal rat pancreas undergoes a developmental β cell turnover that involves the apoptosis of immature β cells and their replacement with adult β cells. To further elucidate this mechanism and the potential role of the vascular system, neonatal rats were injected with streptozotocin to exacerbate this normal loss of β cells. Immunohistochemical and quantitative RNA analysis was performed to observe the ontogeny of changes to microvasculature, endocrine tissue, and growth factors over the subsequent 40 days. Normal islet development involved remodelling of the islet vasculature around weaning which may involve nestin+ cells. Destruction of β cells resulted in a disruption of the islet microvasculature. Re-organization of both tissue compartments appears to be co-ordinated around weaning in normal islet development and following β cell loss.



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