Diabetes now is the most common chronic disease in the world inducing heavy burden for the people's health. Based on this, diabetes research such as islet function has become a hot topic in medical institutes of the world. Today, in medical institutes, the conventional experiment platform in vitro is monolayer cell culture. However, with the development of micro- and nano-technologies, several microengineering methods have been developed to fabricate three-dimensional (3D) islet models in vitro which can better mimic the islet of pancreases in vivo. These in vitro islet models have shown better cell function than monolayer cells, indicating their great potential as better experimental platforms to elucidate islet behaviors under both physiological and pathological conditions, such as the molecular mechanisms of diabetes and clinical islet transplantation. In this review, we present the state-of-the-art advances in the microengineering methods for fabricating microscale islet models in vitro. We hope this will help researchers to better understand the progress in the engineering 3D islet models and their biomedical applications such as drug screening and islet transplantation.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.