Chronic exposure of β-cells to metabolic stresses impairs their function and potentially induces apoptosis. Mitochondria play a central role in coupling glucose metabolism to insulin secretion. However, little is known on mitochondrial responses to specific stresses; i.e. low versus high glucose, saturated versus unsaturated fatty acids, or oxidative stress. INS-1E cells were exposed for 3 days to 5.6 mM glucose, 25 mM glucose, 0.4 mM palmitate, and 0.4 mM oleate. Culture at standard 11.1 mM glucose served as no-stress control and transient oxidative stress (200 µM H2O2 for 10 min at day 0) served as positive stressful condition. Mito-array analyzed transcripts of 60 mitochondrion-associated genes with special focus on members of the Slc25 family. Transcripts of interest were evaluated at the protein level by immunoblotting. Bioinformatics analyzed the expression profiles to delineate comprehensive networks. Chronic exposure to the different metabolic stresses impaired glucose-stimulated insulin secretion; revealing glucotoxicity and lipo-dysfunction. Both saturated and unsaturated fatty acids increased expression of the carnitine/acylcarnitine carrier CAC, whereas the citrate carrier CIC and energy sensor SIRT1 were specifically upregulated by palmitate and oleate, respectively. High glucose upregulated CIC, the dicarboxylate carrier DIC and glutamate carrier GC1. Conversely, it reduced expression of energy sensors (AMPK, SIRT1, SIRT4), metabolic genes, transcription factor PDX1, and anti-apoptotic Bcl2. This was associated with caspase-3 cleavage and cell death. Expression levels of GC1 and SIRT4 exhibited positive and negative glucose dose-response, respectively. Expression profiles of energy sensors and mitochondrial carriers were selectively modified by the different conditions, exhibiting stress-specific signatures.
Substitution of pancreatic islets is a potential therapy to treat diabetes and it depends on reconstitution of islet’s capillary network. In this study, we addressed the question whether stabilization of Glucagon-Like-Peptide-1 (GLP-1) by inhibiting Dipeptidyl Peptidase-IV (DPP-IV) increases β-cell mass by modulating vascularization. Mouse or porcine donor islets were implanted under kidney capsule of diabetic mice treated with DPP-IV inhibitor sitagliptin. Grafts were analyzed for insulin production, β-cell proliferation and vascularization. In addition, the effect of sitagliptin on sprouting and Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF)-A expression was examined ex vivo. The cAMP response element-binding (CREB) and VEGF-A/ Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor Receptor (VEGFR)-2 signaling pathway leading to islet vascularization was explored. Sitagliptin increased mean insulin content of islet grafts and area of insulin-positive tissue as well as β-cell proliferation. Interestingly, sitagliptin treatment also markedly increased endothelial cell proliferation, microvessel density and blood flow. Finally, GLP-1 (7-36) stimulated sprouting and VEGF expression, which was significantly enhanced by sitagliptin- mediated inhibition of DPP-IV. Our in vivo data demonstrate that sitagliptin treatment phosphorylated CREB and induced islet vascularization through VEGF-A/VEGFR-2 signaling pathway. This study paves a new pathway for improvement of islet transplantation in treating diabetes mellitus.
Surrogate β-cells derived from stem cells are needed to cure type 1 diabetes, and neonatal liver cells may be an attractive alternative to stem cells for the generation of β-cells. In this study, we attempted to generate insulin-producing cells from neonatal porcine liver-derived cells using adenoviruses carrying three genes: pancreatic and duodenal homeobox factor1 (PDX1)/VP16, BETA2/NeuroD and v-maf musculo aponeurotic fibrosarcoma oncogene homolog A (MafA), which are all known to play critical roles in pancreatic development. Isolated neonatal porcine liver-derived cells were sequentially transduced with triple adenoviruses and grown in induction medium containing a high concentration of glucose, epidermal growth factors, nicotinamide and a low concentration of serum following the induction of aggregation for further maturation. We noted that the cells displayed a number of molecular characteristics of pancreatic β-cells, including expressing several transcription factors necessary for β-cell development and function. In addition, these cells synthesized and physiologically secreted insulin. Transplanting these differentiated cells into streptozotocin-induced immunodeficient diabetic mice led to the reversal of hyperglycemia, and more than 18% of the cells in the grafts expressed insulin at 6 weeks after transplantation. These data suggested that neonatal porcine liver-derived cells can be differentiated into functional insulin-producing cells under the culture conditions presented in this report and indicated that neonatal porcine liver-derived cells (NPLCs) might be useful as a potential source of cells for β-cell replacement therapy in efforts to cure type I diabetes.
Islet transplantation to treat type 1 diabetes (T1D) has shown varied long-term success, due in part to insufficient blood supply to maintain the islets. In the current study, collagen and collagen:chitosan (10:1) hydrogels, +/- circulating angiogenic cells (CACs), were compared for their ability to produce a pro-angiogenic environment in a streptozotocin-induced mouse model of T1D. Initial characterization showed that collagen-chitosan gels were mechanically stronger than the collagen gels (0.7kPa vs. 0.4kPa elastic modulus, respectively), had more cross-links (9.2 vs. 7.4/µm2), and were degraded more slowly by collagenase. After gelation with CACs, live/dead staining showed greater CAC viability in the collagen-chitosan gels after 18h compared to collagen (79% vs. 69%). In vivo, collagen-chitosan gels, subcutaneously implanted for up to 6 weeks in a T1D mouse, showed increased levels of pro-angiogenic cytokines over time. By 6 weeks, anti-islet cytokine levels were decreased in all matrix formulations ± CACs. The 6-week implants demonstrated increased expression of VCAM-1 in collagen-chitosan implants. Despite this, infiltrating vWF+ and CXCR4+ angiogenic cell numbers were not different between the implant types, which may be due to a delayed and reduced cytokine response in a T1D versus non-diabetic setting. The mechanical, degradation and cytokine data all suggest that the collagen-chitosan gel may be a suitable candidate for use as a pro-angiogenic ectopic islet transplant site.
To investigate the association of risk alleles for type 2 diabetes with prediabetes accounting for age, anthropometry, inflammatory markers and lifestyle habits.
Cross-sectional study of 129 men and 157 women of medium-sized companies in northern Germany in the Delay of Impaired Glucose Tolerance by a Healthy Lifestyle Trial (DELIGHT).
Besides established risk factors, 41 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) that have previously been found to be associated with type 2 diabetes were analyzed. As a nonparametric test a random forest approach was used that allows processing of a large number of predictors. Variables with the highest impact were entered into a multivariate logistic regression model to estimate their association with prediabetes.
Individuals with prediabetes were characterized by a slightly, but significantly higher number of type 2 diabetes risk alleles (42.5±4.1 vs. 41.3±4.1, p = 0.013). After adjustment for age and waist circumference 6 SNPs with the highest impact in the random forest analysis were associated with risk for prediabetes in a logistic regression model. At least 5 of these SNPs were positively related to prediabetic status (odds ratio for prediabetes 1.57 per allele (Cl 1.21–2.10, p = 0.001)).
This explorative analysis of data of DELIGHT demonstrates that at least 6 out of 41 genetic variants characteristic of individuals with type 2 diabetes may also be associated with prediabetes. Accumulation of these risk alleles may markedly increase the risk for prediabetes. However, prospective studies are required to corroborate these findings and to demonstrate the predictive value of these genetic variants for the risk to develop prediabetes.
Glucose is an important metabolic substrate of the retina and diabetic patients have to maintain a strict normoglycemia to avoid diabetes secondary effects, including cardiovascular disease, nephropathy, neuropathy and retinopathy. Others and we recently demonstrated the potential role of hypoglycemia in diabetic retinopathy. We showed acute hypoglycemia to induce retinal cell death both in vivo during an hyperinsulinemic/hypoglycemic clamp and in vitro in 661W photoreceptor cells cultured at low glucose concentration. In the present study, we showed low glucose to induce a decrease of BCL2 and BCL-XL anti-apoptotic proteins expression, leading to an increase of free pro-apoptotic BAX. In parallel, we showed that, in retinal cells, low glucose-induced apoptosis is involved in the process of autophagosomes formation through the AMPK/RAPTOR/mTOR pathway. Moreover, the decrease of LAMP2a expression led to a defect in the autophagosome/lysosome fusion process. Specific inhibition of autophagy, either by 3-methyladenine or by down-regulation of ATG5 or ATG7 proteins expression, increased caspase 3 activation and 661W cell death. We show that low glucose modifies the delicate equilibrium between apoptosis and autophagy. Cells struggled against low nutrient condition-induced apoptosis by starting an autophagic process, which led to cell death when inhibited. We conclude that autophagy defect is associated with low glucose-induced 661W cells death that could play a role in diabetic retinopathy. These results could modify the way of addressing negative effects of hypoglycemia. Short-term modulation of autophagy could be envisioned to treat diabetic patients in order to avoid secondary complications of the disease.
The adult mammalian pancreas has limited ability to regenerate in order to restore adequate insulin production from multipotent progenitors, the identity and function of which remain poorly understood. Here we test whether the TNF family member TWEAK (TNF-like weak inducer of apoptosis) promotes β-cell neogenesis from proliferating pancreatic ductal epithelium in adult mice.
C57Bl/6J mice were treated with Fc-TWEAK and pancreas harvested at different time points for analysis by histology and immunohistochemistry. For lineage tracing, 4 week old double transgenic mice CAII-CreERTM: R26R-eYFP were implanted with tamoxifen pellet, injected with Fc-TWEAK or control Ig twice weekly and analyzed at day 18 for TWEAK-induced duct cell progeny by costaining for insulin and YFP. The effect of TWEAK on pancreatic regeneration was determined by pancytokeratin immunostaining of paraffin embedded sections from wildtype and TWEAK receptor (Fn14) deficient mice after Px.
TWEAK stimulates proliferation of ductal epithelial cells through its receptor Fn14, while it has no mitogenic effect on pancreatic α- or β-cells or acinar cells. Importantly, TWEAK induces transient expression of endogenous Ngn3, a master regulator of endocrine cell development, and induces focal ductal structures with characteristics of regeneration foci. In addition, we identify by lineage tracing TWEAK-induced pancreatic β-cells derived from pancreatic duct epithelial cells. Conversely, we show that Fn14 deficiency delays formation of regenerating foci after Px and limits their expansion.
We conclude that TWEAK is a novel factor mediating pancreatic β-cell neogenesis from ductal epithelium in normal adult mice.
Developing a device that protects xenogeneic islets to allow treatment and potentially cure of diabetes in large mammals has been a major challenge in the past decade. Using xenogeneic islets for transplantation is required in light of donor shortage and the large number of diabetic patients that qualify for islet transplantation. Until now, however, host immunoreactivity against the xenogeneic graft has been a major drawback for the use of porcine islets. Our study demonstrates the applicability of a novel immunoprotective membrane that allows successful xenotransplantation of rat islets in diabetic minipigs without immunosuppressive therapy. Rat pancreatic islets were encapsulated in highly purified alginate and integrated into a plastic macrochamber covered by a poly-membrane for subcutaneous transplantation. Diabetic Sinclair pigs were transplanted and followed for up to 90 days. We demonstrated a persistent graft function and restoration of normoglycemia without the need for immunosuppressive therapy. This concept could potentially offer an attractive strategy for a more widespread islet replacement therapy that would restore endogenous insulin secretion in diabetic patients without the need for immunosuppressive drugs and may even open up an avenue for safe utilization of xenogeneic islet donors.
Impaired insulin action plays a major role in the pathogenesis of type 2 diabetes, a chronic metabolic disorder which imposes a tremendous burden to morbidity and mortality worldwide. Unraveling the molecular mechanisms underlying insulin resistance would improve setting up preventive and treatment strategies of type 2 diabetes. Down-regulation of GALNT2, an UDPN-acetyl-alpha-D-galactosamine polypeptideN-acetylgalactosaminyltransferase-2 (ppGalNAc-T2), causes impaired insulin signaling and action in cultured human liver cells. In addition, GALNT2 mRNA levels are down-regulated in liver of spontaneously insulin resistant, diabetic Goto-Kakizaki rats. To investigate the role of GALNT2 in human hyperglycemia, we measured GALNT2 mRNA expression levels in peripheral whole blood cells of 84 non-obese and 46 obese non-diabetic individuals as well as of 98 obese patients with type 2 diabetes. We also measured GALNT2 mRNA expression in human U937 cells cultured under different glucose concentrations. In vivo studies indicated that GALNT2 mRNA levels were significantly reduced from non obese control to obese non diabetic and to obese diabetic individuals (p<0.001). In vitro studies showed that GALNT2 mRNA levels was reduced in U937 cells exposed to high glucose concentrations (i.e. 25 mmol/l glucose) as compared to cells exposed to low glucose concentration (i.e. 5.5 mmol/l glucose +19.5 mmol/l mannitol). In conclusion, our data indicate that GALNT2 is down-regulated in patients with type 2 diabetes and suggest that this association is, at least partly, secondary to hyperglycemia. Further studies are needed to understand whether GALNT2 down-regulation plays a pathogenic role in maintaining and/or aggravating the metabolic abnormalities of diabetic milieu.
Failure of revascularization is known to be the major reason for the poor outcome of pancreatic islet transplantation. In this study, we analyzed whether pseudoislets composed of islet cells and bone marrow cells can improve vascularization and function of islet transplants. Pancreatic islets isolated from Syrian golden hamsters were dispersed into single cells for the generation of pseudoislets containing 4×103 cells. To create bone marrow cell-enriched pseudoislets 2×103 islet cells were co-cultured with 2×103 bone marrow cells. Pseudoislets and bone marrow cell-enriched pseudoislets were transplanted syngeneically into skinfold chambers to study graft vascularization by intravital fluorescence microscopy. Native islet transplants served as controls. Bone marrow cell-enriched pseudoislets showed a significantly improved vascularization compared to native islets and pseudoislets. Moreover, bone marrow cell-enriched pseudoislets but not pseudoislets normalized blood glucose levels after transplantation of 1000 islet equivalents under the kidney capsule of streptozotocin-induced diabetic animals, although the bone marrow cell-enriched pseudoislets contained only 50% of islet cells compared to pseudoislets and native islets. Fluorescence microscopy of bone marrow cell-enriched pseudoislets composed of bone marrow cells from GFP-expressing mice showed a distinct fraction of cells expressing both GFP and insulin, indicating a differentiation of bone marrow-derived cells to an insulin-producing cell-type. Thus, enrichment of pseudoislets by bone marrow cells enhances vascularization after transplantation and increases the amount of insulin-producing tissue. Accordingly, bone marrow cell-enriched pseudoislets may represent a novel approach to increase the success rate of islet transplantation.
The exocyst complex subunit Sec5 is a downstream effector of RalA-GTPase which promotes RalA-exocyst interactions and exocyst assembly, serving to tether secretory granules to docking sites on the plasma membrane. We recently reported that RalA regulates biphasic insulin secretion in pancreatic islet β cells in part by tethering insulin secretory granules to Ca2+ channels to assist excitosome assembly. Here, we assessed β cell exocytosis by patch clamp membrane capacitance measurement and total internal reflection fluorescence microscopy to investigate the role of Sec5 in regulating insulin secretion. Sec5 is present in human and rodent islet β cells, localized to insulin granules. Sec5 protein depletion in rat INS-1 cells inhibited depolarization-induced release of primed insulin granules from both readily-releasable pool and mobilization from the reserve pool. This reduction in insulin exocytosis was attributed mainly to reduction in recruitment and exocytosis of newcomer insulin granules that undergo minimal docking time at the plasma membrane, but which encompassed a larger portion of biphasic glucose stimulated insulin secretion. Sec5 protein knockdown had little effect on predocked granules, unless vigorously stimulated by KCl depolarization. Taken together, newcomer insulin granules in β cells are more sensitive than predocked granules to Sec5 regulation.
Rab37 belongs to a subclass of Rab GTPases regulating exocytosis, including also Rab3a and Rab27a. Proteomic studies indicate that Rab37 is associated with insulin-containing large dense core granules of pancreatic β-cells. In agreement with these observations, we detected Rab37 in extracts of β-cell lines and human pancreatic islets and confirmed by confocal microscopy the localization of the GTPase on insulin-containing secretory granules. We found that, as is the case for Rab3a and Rab27a, reduction of Rab37 levels by RNA interference leads to impairment in glucose-induced insulin secretion and to a decrease in the number of granules in close apposition to the plasma membrane. Pull-down experiments revealed that, despite similar functional effects, Rab37 does not interact with known Rab3a or Rab27a effectors and is likely to operate through a different mechanism. Exposure of insulin-secreting cells to proinflammatory cytokines, fatty acids or oxidized low-density lipoproteins, mimicking physiopathological conditions that favor the development of diabetes, resulted in a decrease in Rab37 expression. Our data identify Rab37 as an additional component of the machinery governing exocytosis of β-cells and suggest that impaired expression of this GTPase may contribute to defective insulin release in pre-diabetic and diabetic conditions.
Insulin signaling is essential for -cell survival and proliferation in vivo. Insulin also has potent mitogenic and anti-apoptotic actions on cultured -cells, with maximum effect in the high picomolar range and diminishing effect at high nanomolar doses. In order to understand whether these effects of insulin are constitutive or can be subjected to physiological modulation, it is essential to estimate the extracellular concentration of monomeric insulin within an intact islet. Unfortunately, the in vivo concentration of insulin monomers within the islet cannot be measured directly with current technology. Here, we present the first mathematical model designed to estimate the levels of monomeric insulin within the islet extracellular space. Insulin is released as insoluble crystals that exhibit a delayed dissociation into hexamers, dimers, and eventually monomers, which only then can act as signaling ligands. The rates at which different forms of insulin dissolve in vivo have been estimated from studies of peripheral insulin injection sites. We used this and other information to formulate a mathematical model to estimate the local insulin concentration within a single islet as a function of glucose. Model parameters were estimated from existing literature. Components of the model were validated using experimental data, if available. Model analysis predicted that the majority of monomeric insulin in the islet is that which has been returned from the periphery, and the concentration of intra-islet monomeric insulin varies from 50–300 pM when glucose is in the physiological range. Thus, our results suggest that the local concentration of monomeric insulin within the islet is in the picomolar ‘sweet spot’ range of insulin doses that activate the insulin receptor and have the most potent effects on -cells in vitro. Together with experimental data, these estimations support the concept that autocrine/paracrine insulin signalling within the islet is dynamic, rather than constitutive and saturated.
The specification and differentiation of pancreatic endocrine cell populations (α-, β-, δ, PP- and ε-cells) is orchestrated by a combination of transcriptional regulators. In the pancreas, Aristaless-related homeobox gene (Arx) is expressed first in the endocrine progenitors and then restricted to glucagon-producing α-cells. While the functional requirement of Arx in early α-cell specification has been investigated, its role in maintaining α-cell identity has yet to be explored. To study this later role of Arx, we have generated mice in which the Arx gene has been ablated specifically in glucagon-producing α-cells. Lineage-tracing studies and immunostaining analysis for endocrine hormones demonstrate that ablation of Arx in neonatal α-cells results in an α-to-β-like conversion through an intermediate bihormonal state. Furthermore, these Arx-deficient converted cells express β-cell markers including Pdx1, MafA, and Glut2. Surprisingly, short-term ablation of Arx in adult mice does not result in a similar α-to-β-like conversion. Taken together, these findings reveal a potential temporal requirement for Arx in maintaining α-cell identity.
Neuroligin-2 is a transmembrane, cell-surface protein originally identified as an inhibitory synapse-associated protein in the central nervous system. Neuroligin-2 is also present on the pancreatic beta-cell surface, and there it engages in transcellular interactions that drive functional maturation of the insulin secretory machinery; these are necessary for normal insulin secretion. The effects of neuroligin-2 deficiency on brain and neuronal function and morphology and on behavior and coordination have been extensively characterized using neuroligin-2 knockout mice. The effects of absent neuroligin-2 expression on islet development and function, however, are unknown. Here, to help test whether neuroligin-2 is necessary for normal islet development, we characterized islet morphology in mice lacking neuroligin-2. To test whether–as predicted by our earlier co-culture studies–absence of neuroligin-2 impairs beta cell function, we compared glucose-stimulated insulin secretion by islets from mutant and wild-type mice. Our results show that while islets from neuroligin-2-deficient mice do not to appear to differ architecturally from wild-type islets, they are smaller, fewer in number, and contain beta cells with lower insulin content. Evaluation of transcript levels suggests that upregulation of neuroligin-1 helps compensate for loss of neuroligin-2. Surprisingly, under both basal and stimulating glucose levels, isolated islets from the knockout mice secreted more of their intracellular insulin content. Rat islets with shRNA-mediated neuroligin-2 knockdown also exhibited increased insulin secretion. Neurexin transcript levels were lower in the knockout mice and, consistent with our prior finding that neurexin is a key constituent of the insulin granule docking machinery, insulin granule docking was reduced. These results indicate that neuroligin-2 is not necessary for the formation of pancreatic islets but that neuroligin-2 influences islet size and number. Neuroligin-2–perhaps through its effects on the expression and/or activity of its binding partner neurexin–promotes insulin granule docking, a known constraint on insulin secretion.
Islet transplantation is a minimally invasive treatment for severe diabetes. However, it often requires multiple donors to accomplish insulin-independence and the long-term results are not yet satisfying. Therefore, novel ways to overcome these problems have been explored. Isolated islets are fragile and susceptible to pro-apoptotic factors and poorly proliferative. In contrast, mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are highly proliferative, anti-apoptotic and pluripotent to differentiate toward various cell types, promote angiogenesis and modulate inflammation, thereby studied as an enhancer of islet function and engraftment. Electrofusion is an efficient method of cell fusion and nuclear reprogramming occurs in hybrid cells between different cell types. Therefore, we hypothesized that electrofusion between MSC and islet cells may yield robust islet cells for diabetes therapy. We establish a method of electrofusion between dispersed islet cells and MSCs in rats. The fusion cells maintained glucose-responsive insulin release for 20 days in vitro. Renal subcapsular transplantation of fusion cells prepared from suboptimal islet mass (1,000 islets) that did not correct hyperglycemia even if co-transplanted with MSCs, caused slow but consistent lowering of blood glucose with significant weight gain within the observation period in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats. In the fusion cells between rat islet cells and mouse MSCs, RT-PCR showed new expression of both rat MSC-related genes and mouse β-cell-related genes, indicating bidirectional reprogramming of both β-cell and MSCs nuclei. Moreover, decreased caspase3 expression and new expression of Ki-67 in the islet cell nuclei suggested alleviated apoptosis and gain of proliferative capability, respectively. These results show that electrofusion between MSCs and islet cells yield special cells with β-cell function and robustness of MSCs and seems feasible for novel therapeutic strategy for diabetes mellitus.
The LEW.1AR1-iddm rat is an animal model of human type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM), which arose through a spontaneous mutation within the MHC-congenic inbred strain LEW.1AR1 (RT1r2). In contrast to the diabetes-resistant LEW.1AR1 background strain in LEW.1AR1-iddm rats a highly variable T-cell frequency could be observed in peripheral blood lymphocytes (PBLs).
In this study we therefore characterised the T-cell repertoire within the PBLs of the two strains by flow cytometry analysis and identified the CD3+ T-cell phenotype and its possible linkage to diabetes susceptibility. To map loci conferring susceptibility to variable CD3+ T-cell frequency, backcross strains (N2) were generated with the genetically divergent BN and PAR rats for microsatellite analysis.
The LEW.1AR1-iddm rat strain was characterised by a higher variability of CD3+ T-cells in PBLs along with a slightly decreased mean value compared to the LEW.1AR1 background strain. The reason for this reduction was a decrease in the CD4+ T-cell count while the CD8+ T-cell proportion remained unchanged. However, both T-cell subpopulations showed a high variability. This resulted in a lower CD4+/CD8+ T-cell ratio than in LEW.1AR1 rats. Like LEW.1AR1-iddm rats all animals of the backcross populations, N2 BN and N2 PAR rats, also showed large variations of the CD3+ T-cell frequency. The phenotype of variable CD3+ T-cell frequency mapped to the telomeric region of chromosome 1 (RNO1), which is identical with the already known Iddm8 diabetes susceptibility region. The data indicate that a variable CD3+ T-cell frequency in PBLs is genetically linked to diabetes susceptibility in the LEW.1AR1-iddm rat.
The T-cell variability in PBLs could be related to the previously reported imbalance between regulatory and effector T-cell populations which results in beta-cell autoimmunity. Since similar T-cell phenotypes have also been described in human T1DM the identification of the functional role of the observed variable CD3+ T-cell frequency may help to understand the mechanisms of autoimmunity in T1DM.
Defects in glucagon action can cause hyperplasia of islet α-cells, however, the underlying mechanisms remain largely to be elucidated. Mice homozygous for a glucagon-GFP knock-in allele (Gcggfp/gfp) completely lack proglucagon-derived peptides and exhibit hyperplasia of GFP-positive α-like cells. Expression of the transcription factor, aristaless-related homeobox (ARX), is also increased in the Gcggfp/gfp pancreas. Here, we sought to elucidate the role of ARX in the hyperplasia of α-like cells through analyses of two Arx mutant alleles (ArxP355L/Y and Arx [330insGCG]7/Y) that have different levels of impairment of their function. Expression of Gfp and Arx genes was higher and the size and number of islets increased in the Gcggfp/gfp pancreas compared to and Gcggfp/+ pancreas at 2 weeks of age. In male Gcggfp/gfp mice that are hemizygous for the ArxP355L/Y mutation that results in a protein with a P355L amino acid substitution, expression of Gfp mRNA in the pancreas was comparable to that in control Gcggfp/+Arx+/Y mice. The increases in islet size and number were also reduced in these mice. Immunohistochemical analysis showed that the number of GFP-positive cells was comparable in Gcggfp/gfp ArxP355L/Y and Gcggfp/+Arx+/Y mice. These results indicate that the hyperplasia is reduced by introduction of an Arx mutation. ArxP355L/Y mice appeared to be phenotypically normal; however, Arx [330insGCG]7/Y mice that have a mutant ARX protein with expansion of the polyalanine tract had a reduced body size and shortened life span. The number of GFP positive cells was further reduced in the Gcggfp/gfp Arx [330insGCG]7/Y mice. Taken together, our findings show that the function of ARX is one of the key modifiers for hyperplasia of islet α-like cells in the absence of proglucagon-derived peptides.
Bone morphogenetic protein 4 (Bmp4) was recently shown to be related to glucose homeostasis in mouse adult pancreas through the regulation of insulin production. We previously revealed the predominant expression of Bmp4 in adult pancreas by in vivo imaging of transgenic mice. However, the control regions for predominant Bmp4 expression in the adult pancreas are unclear. In this study, we established transgenic (Tg) mice that allow real time in vivo bioluminescence imaging of the enhancer/promoter activity of the Bmp4 gene. Tg mice expressing firefly luciferase with a 7 kb upstream region and 5′-non-coding sequence (three exons and two introns) of the Bmp4 gene showed pancreatic expression of bioluminescence, while the Tg mice bearing luciferase with the 7 kb upstream region alone did not show pancreatic expression of the reporter gene. Interestingly, pancreatic expression of bioluminescence was also present in Tg mice harboring the truncated promoter without exon IA and IB, indicating the presence of a cryptic promoter in front of exon II. Furthermore, the bioluminescence signal was not detected in embryonic pancreas, but increasing signals were observed in neonatal and infantile Tg mice depending on the genotypes observed. These results suggested that a novel mechanism of transcription is involved in pancreatic expression of the Bmp4 gene.
Type 2 Diabetes is a global health burden and based on current estimates will become an even larger problem in the future. Developing new strategies to prevent and treat diabetes is a scientific challenge of high priority. The stomach hormone ghrelin has been associated with playing a role in the regulation of glucose homeostasis. However, its precise mechanism and impact on whole glucose metabolism remains to be elucidated. This study aims to clarify the role of the two ghrelin isoforms acyl- and desacyl ghrelin in regulating glucose homeostasis. Therefore ghrelin activating enzyme Ghrelin-O-acyltransferase (GOAT) was ablated in leptin-deficient ob/ob mice to study whether specific acyl ghrelin deficiency or desacyl ghrelin abundance modifies glucose tolerance on a massively obese background. As targeted deletion of acyl ghrelin does not improve glucose homeostasis in our GOAT-ob/ob mouse model we conclude that neither acyl ghrelin nor the increased ratio of desacyl/acyl ghrelin is crucial for controlling glucose homeostasis in the here presented model of massive obesity induced by leptin deficiency.
Immunosuppressive drugs could be crucial factors for a poor outcome after islet allotransplantation. Unlike rapamycin, the effects of tacrolimus, the current standard immunosuppressant used in islet transplantation, on graft revascularization remain unclear. We examined the effects of tacrolimus on islet revascularization using a highly sensitive imaging system, and analyzed the gene expression in transplanted islets by introducing laser microdissection techniques.
Islets isolated from C57BL/6-Tg (CAG-EGFP) mice were transplanted into the nonmetallic dorsal skinfold chamber on the recipients. Balb/c athymic mice were used as recipients and were divided into two groups: including a control group (n = 9) and tacrolimus-treated group (n = 7). The changes in the newly-formed vessels surrounding the islet grafts were imaged and semi-quantified using multi-photon laser-scanning microscopy and a Volocity system. Gene expression in transplanted islets was analyzed by the BioMark dynamic system.
The revascularization process was completed within 14 days after pancreatic islet transplantation at subcutaneous sites. The newly-formed vascular volume surrounding the transplanted islets in the tacrolimus-treated group was significantly less than that in the control group (p<0.05). Although the expression of Vegfa (p<0.05) and Ccnd1 (p<0.05) was significantly upregulated in the tacrolimus-treated group compared with that of the control group, no differences were observed between the groups in terms of other types of gene expression.
The present study demonstrates that tacrolimus inhibits the revascularization of isolated pancreatic islets without affecting the characteristics of the transplanted grafts. Further refinements of this immunosuppressive regimen, especially regarding the revascularization of islet grafts, could improve the outcome of islet allotransplantation.
Xenotransplantation of microencapsulated fetal pig islet-like cell clusters (FP ICCs) offers a potential cellular therapy for type 1 diabetes. Although microcapsules prevent direct contact of the host immune system with the xenografted tissue, poor graft survival is still an issue. This study aimed to characterise the nature of the host immune cells present on the engrafted microcapsules and effects on encapsulated FP ICCs that were transplanted into immunocompetent mice. Encapsulated FP ICCs were transplanted into the peritoneal cavity of C57BL/6 mice. Grafts retrieved at days 1, 3, 7, 14 and 21 post-transplantation were analysed for pericapsular fibrotic overgrowth (PFO), cell viability, intragraft porcine gene expression, macrophages, myofibroblasts and intraperitoneal murine cytokines. Graft function was assessed ex vivo by insulin secretion studies. Xenogeneic immune response to encapsulated FP ICCs was associated with enhanced intragraft mRNA expression of porcine antigens MIP-1α, IL-8, HMGB1 and HSP90 seen within the first two weeks post-transplantation. This was associated with the recruitment of host macrophages, infiltration of myofibroblasts and collagen deposition leading to PFO which was evident from day 7 post-transplantation. This was accompanied by a decrease in cell viability and loss of FP ICC architecture. The only pro-inflammatory cytokine detected in the murine peritoneal flushing was TNF-α with levels peaking at day 7 post transplantation. This correlated with the onset of PFO at day 7 implying activated macrophages as its source. The anti-inflammatory cytokines detected were IL-5 and IL-4 with levels peaking at days 1 and 7, respectively. Porcine C-peptide was undetectable at all time points post-transplantation. PFO was absent and murine intraperitoneal cytokines were undetectable when empty microcapsules were transplanted. In conclusion, this study demonstrated that the macrophages are direct effectors of the xenogeneic immune response to encapsulated FP ICCs leading to PFO mediated by a combination of both pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines.
Type 1 diabetes (T1D) is characterized by autoimmune depletion of insulin-producing pancreatic beta cells. We showed previously that deletion of the 12/15-lipoxygenase enzyme (12/15-LO, Alox15 gene) in NOD mice leads to nearly 100 percent protection from T1D. In this study, we test the hypothesis that cytokines involved in the IL-12/12/15-LO axis affect both macrophage and islet function, which contributes to the development of T1D.
12/15-LO expression was clarified in immune cells by qRT-PCR, and timing of expression was tested in islets using qRT-PCR and Western blotting. Expression of key proinflammatory cytokines and pancreatic transcription factors was studied in NOD and NOD-Alox15null macrophages and islets using qRT-PCR. The two mouse strains were also assessed for the ability of splenocytes to transfer diabetes in an adoptive transfer model, and beta cell mass.
12/15-LO is expressed in macrophages, but not B and T cells of NOD mice. In macrophages, 12/15-LO deletion leads to decreased proinflammatory cytokine mRNA and protein levels. Furthermore, splenocytes from NOD-Alox15null mice are unable to transfer diabetes in an adoptive transfer model. In islets, expression of 12/15-LO in NOD mice peaks at a crucial time during insulitis development. The absence of 12/15-LO results in maintenance of islet health with respect to measurements of islet-specific transcription factors, markers of islet health, proinflammatory cytokines, and beta cell mass.
These results suggest that 12/15-LO affects islet and macrophage function, causing inflammation, and leading to autoimmunity and reduced beta cell mass.
Pancreatic islet transplantation, a treatment for type 1 diabetes, has met significant challenges, as a substantial fraction of the islet mass fails to engraft, partly due to death by apoptosis in the peri- and post-transplantation periods. Previous evidence has suggested that NF-κB activation is involved in cytokine-mediated β-cell apoptosis and regulates the expression of pro-inflammatory and chemokine genes. We therefore sought to explore the effects of β-cell-specific inhibition of NF-κB activation as a means of cytoprotection in an allogeneic model of islet transplantation. To this end, we used islets isolated from the ToI-β transgenic mouse, where NF-κB signalling can specifically and conditionally be inhibited in β-cells by expressing an inducible and non-degradable form of IκBα regulated by the tet-on system. Our results show that β-cell-specific blockade of NF-κB led to a prolonged islet graft survival, with a relative higher preservation of the engrafted endocrine tissue and reduced inflammation. Importantly, a longer delay in allograft rejection was achieved when mice were systemically treated with the proteasome inhibitor, Bortezomib. Our findings emphasize the contribution of NF-κB activation in the allograft rejection process, and suggest an involvement of the CXCL10/IP-10 chemokine. Furthermore, we suggest a potential, readily available therapeutic agent that may temper this process.
Beta cells adapt to an increased insulin demand by enhancing insulin secretion via increased beta cell function and/or increased beta cell number. While morphological and functional heterogeneity between individual islets exists, it is unknown whether regional differences in beta cell adaptation occur. Therefore we investigated beta cell adaptation throughout the pancreas in a model of high-fat diet (HFD)-induced insulin resistance in mice.
C57BL/6J mice were fed a HFD to induce insulin resistance, or control diet for 6 weeks. The pancreas was divided in a duodenal (DR), gastric (GR) and splenic (SR) region and taken for either histology or islet isolation. The capacity of untreated islets from the three regions to adapt in an extrapancreatic location was assessed by transplantation under the kidney capsule of streptozotocin-treated mice.
SR islets showed 70% increased beta cell proliferation after HFD, whereas no significant increase was found in DR and GR islets. Furthermore, isolated SR islets showed twofold enhanced glucose-induced insulin secretion after HFD, as compared with DR and GR islets. In contrast, transplantation of islets isolated from the three regions to an extrapancreatic location in diabetic mice led to a similar decrease in hyperglycemia and no difference in beta cell proliferation.
HFD-induced insulin resistance leads to topologically heterogeneous beta cell adaptation and is most prominent in the splenic region of the pancreas. This topological heterogeneity in beta cell adaptation appears to result from extrinsic factors present in the islet microenvironment.