We demonstrate intrinsic optical signal (IOS) imaging of intact rat islet, which consists of many endocrine cells working together. A near-infrared digital microscope was employed for optical monitoring of islet activities evoked by glucose stimulation. Dynamic NIR images revealed transient IOS responses in the islet activated by low-dose (2.75mM) and high-dose (5.5mM) glucose stimuli. Comparative experiments and quantitative analysis indicated that both glucose metabolism and calcium/insulin dynamics might contribute to the observed IOS responses. Further investigation of the IOS imaging technology may provide a high resolution method for ex vivo functional examination of the islet, which is important for advanced study of diabetes associated islet dysfunctions and for improved quality control of donor islets for transplantation. © 2012 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.