Re-vascularized Islets of Langerhans

The interaction between endocrine cells and vasculature in pancreatic islets is of major importance for islet development, identity, function and interaction with circulating cells and factors. Donor pancreatic islets lose their vasculature after isolation, impacting their function and survivability in culture.  Organ-on-a-chip platforms and iPSC technology represent an opportunity to create a next generation islet culture system, which would also allow high throughput screening. Here we setup a vascularized islet on a chip model utilizing hiPSC derived endothelial cells.

Body area Pancreas


Diabetes is affecting nearly 500milliion people worldwide and is only expected to increase further.

Diabetes research has been hampered by the lack of donor islets and their short term survivability in culture.  We strive to create a next generation islet culture system to overcome these challenges.

reNEW research

This image represents initial experiments demonstrating the feasibility of vascularized islets on a chip. Next steps include functional tests and improving complexity of the vasculature by optimizing co-culturing steps.

Furthermore we want to combine this research with our expertise in Islet differentiation from hiPSC. To create a model not reliant on donor material.

Image description

Re-vascularized Islet of Langerhans with hiPSC derived endothelial cell growing in a lab on a chip environment.
Novelty is the surrounding vasculature has migrated into the islet aided by previous co-culture with hiPSC derived endothelial cells.


Maarten van Agen, Department of Internal Medicine, Islet lab, LUMC.
Thanks to Ulgu Arslan and Valeria Orlova, Department of Anatomy and Embryology, LUMC, reNEW Leiden.