The fractal spatial distribution of pancreatic islets in three dimensions: a self-avoiding growth model
2013 (English)In: Physical Biology, ISSN 1478-3967, E-ISSN 1478-3975, Vol. 10, no 3, 036009- p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
The islets of Langerhans, responsible for controlling blood glucose levels, are dispersed within the pancreas. A universal power law governing the fractal spatial distribution of islets in two-dimensional pancreatic sections has been reported. However, the fractal geometry in the actual three-dimensional pancreas volume, and the developmental process that gives rise to such a self-similar structure, has not been investigated. Here, we examined the three-dimensional spatial distribution of islets in intact mouse pancreata using optical projection tomography and found a power law with a fractal dimension of 2.1. Furthermore, based on two-dimensional pancreatic sections of human autopsies, we found that the distribution of human islets also follows a universal power law with a fractal dimension of 1.5 in adult pancreata, which agrees with the value previously reported in smaller mammalian pancreas sections. Finally, we developed a self-avoiding growth model for the development of the islet distribution and found that the fractal nature of the spatial islet distribution may be associated with the self-avoidance in the branching process of vascularization in the pancreas.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Institute of Physics Publishing (IOPP), 2013. Vol. 10, no 3, 036009- p.
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-76799DOI: 10.1088/1478-3975/10/3/036009ISI: 000319863500020OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-76799DiVA: diva2:637147