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Free access

Benjamin J Lamont and Sofianos Andrikopoulos

Incretin-based therapies appear to offer many advantages over other approaches for treating type 2 diabetes. Some preclinical studies have suggested that chronic activation of glucagon-like peptide 1 receptor (GLP1R) signalling in the pancreas may result in the proliferation of islet β-cells and an increase in β-cell mass. This provided hope that enhancing GLP1 action could potentially alter the natural progression of type 2 diabetes. However, to date, there has been no evidence from clinical trials suggesting that GLP1R agonists or dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP4) inhibitors can increase β-cell mass. Nevertheless, while the proliferative capacity of these agents remains controversial, some studies have raised concerns that they could potentially contribute to the development of pancreatitis and hence increase the risk of pancreatic cancer. Currently, there are very limited clinical data to directly assess these potential benefits and risks of incretin-based therapies. However, a review of the preclinical studies indicates that incretin-based therapies probably have only a limited capacity to regenerate pancreatic β-cells, but may be useful for preserving any remaining β-cells in type 2 diabetes. In addition, the majority of preclinical evidence does not support the notion that GLP1R agonists or DPP4 inhibitors cause pancreatitis.

Free access

EG Siegel, A Seidenstucker, B Gallwitz, F Schmitz, A Reinecke-Luthge, G Kloppel, UR Folsch, and WE Schmidt

Liver cirrhosis is often accompanied by a disturbed carbohydrate metabolism similar to type 2 diabetes. To investigate the severity of the defect in insulin secretion in this form of diabetes, we measured insulin release from isolated pancreatic islets of rats with CCl(4)-phenobarbital-induced liver cirrhosis. Cirrhosis was confirmed by clinical signs, elevated liver enzymes and histology. Fasting venous plasma glucose concentrations were equal in rats with liver cirrhosis and in controls. Plasma insulin and glucagon concentrations were significantly greater (P<0.01) in cirrhotic rats than in control animals. Glucose (16.7 mM)-induced stimulation of insulin release from pancreatic islets revealed a twofold increase in control and cirrhotic rats. Basal and stimulated insulin secretion, however, were significantly lower in cirrhotic animals. The incretin hormone, glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1), has therapeutic potential for the treatment of type 2 diabetes. Therefore, islets from control and cirrhotic animals were incubated with GLP-1 in concentrations from 10(-)(11) to 10(-)(6) M. GLP-1 stimulated insulin release in a concentration-dependent manner. In islets from cirrhotic rats, basal and stimulated insulin secretion was blunted compared with controls. These data show that the hyperinsulinemia observed in liver cirrhosis is not due to an increase of insulin secretion from islets, but could be explained by decreased hepatic clearance of insulin. GLP-1 may ameliorate diabetes in patients with liver cirrhosis.

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P. F. Terranova, J. Th. J. Uilenbroek, L. Saville, D. Horst, and Y. Nakamura


Preovulatory follicles from adult hamsters on the morning of pro-oestrus were used in this study. Serotonin stimulated oestradiol production by preovulatory follicles during a 5-h incubation in 1 ml Krebs–Ringer bicarbonate glucose medium containing isobutylmethylxanthine (0.1 mmol/l; IBMX) and androstenedione (1 μmol/l). The enhanced oestradiol production by serotonin was dependent on the dose of IBMX and androstenedione. Mianserin, a serotonin type-1 and serotonin type-2 receptor antagonists, prevented the serotonin-enhanced oestradiol production in a dose-dependent manner. Ketanserin, a specific serotonin type-2 receptor antagonist, was ineffective in blocking the action of serotonin, indicating that the effect of serotonin was mediated by the serotonin type-1 receptor. In the presence of androstenedione (1 μmol/l), serotonin was unable to enhance oestradiol production in isolated granulosa cells. It was also unable to enhance oestradiol production in early atretic follicles; atresia was induced experimentally by an injection of phenobarbital in order to prevent ovulation.

The data indicate that serotonin stimulates oestradiol production by hamster preovulatory follicles in vitro. The mechanism of action of serotonin involves an intact healthy follicle, a serotonin type-1 receptor and possibly cyclic AMP. The increased oestradiol secretion might be related to increased androgen production by the follicle and increased permeability (leakiness) of the follicle to androstenedione which serves as substrate for aromatization to oestradiol by the granulosa cell.

Journal of Endocrinology (1990) 125, 433–438

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S. J. Winder, S. D. Wheatley, and I. A. Forsyth


Sucrose density centrifugation was used to prepare a partially purified membrane fraction from the mammary glands of non-pregnant, pregnant and lactating sheep. The binding of125 I-labelled insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I) was dependent on membrane protein concentration, pH, time and temperature. The binding showed the characteristics of a type-1 IGF receptor, being displaced by IGF-I (median effective dose (ED50) 0·55 nmol/l), less effectively by IGF-II (ED50 8·8 nmol/l) and least effectively by insulin. Glucagon, ovine prolactin and ovine placental lactogen could not displace binding. A molecular weight of 135 000 was determined by affinity cross-linking using disuccinimidyl suberate; this was consistent with the reported size of the type-1 receptor α-subunit. Scatchard analysis was used to determine binding affinity and numbers of IGF-I-binding sites. A single class of high-affinity binding sites was found in all physiological states. In non-pregnant sheep and sheep at days 40, 75 and 110–120 of pregnancy and at term, the binding affinity was similar (apparent dissociation constant (K d) 2·73 ±0·31 nmol/l, n = 22). In lactating sheep (weeks 1, 4 and 10), the binding affinity was significantly (P = 0·02) higher (K d 0·77± 0·06 nmol/l n = 9). Binding capacity was similar in non-pregnant and pregnant sheep (1005 ± 113 fmol/mg, n = 19), but fell by parturition and remained low in lactation (570±52 fmol/mg membrane protein, n = 12). The results suggest that the mammary growth of pregnancy is not regulated at the level of the type-1 IGF receptor.

Journal of Endocrinology (1993) 136, 297–304

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Seven morphologically and tinctorially distinct types of cell (types 1–) have been distinguished in the pars anterior of the pituitary gland of the musk shrew (Suncus murinus L.). On the basis of their responses to various experimental stimuli, these cell types were correlated with the secretion of various trophic hormones. Type 1 cells exhibited conspicuous changes after thyroidectomy or inactivation of the thyroid gland and hence appeared to be the source of TSH. Types 2 and 3 cells responded to gonadectomy and administration of androgens, which suggests that they were associated with gonadotrophin secretion. The granules of the type 2, but not the type 3 cells could be extracted with 10% trichloroacetic acid, which may indicate that type 2 and 3 cells secrete FSH and LH respectively. After the administration of either reserpine or oestrogen, the type 4 cells underwent hypertrophy and hyperplasia, which suggests that they were the likely source of prolactin. Type 6 cells, which are distinguishable from type 4 cells by their thinly dispersed erythrosinophilic granulation, showed conspicuous changes after unilateral adrenalectomy, administration of metyrapone or exposure to stress and may therefore be responsible for secretion of ACTH. Type 5 cells tinctorially resembled the somatotrophic cells of other mammalian species and did not respond to any of the experimental treatments used in the present study. It is therefore possible that these cells have a somatotrophic function. The possible significance of type 7 cells has been discussed previously.

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The ultrastructure of the adenohypophysis of the rabbit, after treatment with propylthiouracil, is described. All cells in the zona tuberalis and pars distalis proper, with the exception of the prolactin producing (type 1) and stellate cells (type 5), were affected. However, the only ones which presented some evidence of sequential changes were the type 4 cells. These became markedly degranulated and sometimes showed vesiculation of the cisternae of the granular endoplasmic reticulum, similar to that observed in the 'thyroidectomy' cells in some other species. Although changes occurred in the somatotrophs (type 2) and in the gonadotrophs (type 3) the evidence suggests that it is the type 4 cells which have a thyrotrophic function.

Free access

J Han and Y Q Liu

Pyruvate carboxylase (PC) activity is enhanced in the islets of obese rats, but it is reduced in the islets of type 2 diabetic rats, suggesting the importance of PC in β-cell adaptation to insulin resistance as well as the possibility that PC reduction might lead to hyperglycemia. However, the causality is currently unknown. We used obese Agouti mice (AyL) as a model to show enhanced β-cell adaptation, and type 2 diabetic db/db mice as a model to show severe β-cell failure. After comparison of the two models, a less severe type 2 diabetic Agouti-K (AyK) mouse model was used to show the changes in islet PC activity during the development of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). AyK mice were separated into two groups: mildly (AyK-M, blood glucose <250 mg/dl) and severely (AyK-S, blood glucose >250 mg/dl) hyperglycemic. Islet PC activity, but not protein level, was increased 1.7-fold in AyK-M mice; in AyK-S mice, islet PC activity and protein level were reduced. All other changes including insulin secretion and islet morphology in AyK-M mice were similar to those observed in AyL mice, but they were worse in AyK-S mice where these parameters closely matched those in db/db mice. In 2-day treated islets, PC activity was inhibited by high glucose but not by palmitate. Our findings suggest that islet PC might play a role in the development of T2DM where reduction of PC activity might be a consequence of mild hyperglycemia and a cause for severe hyperglycemia.

Free access

Alison J Forhead, Juanita K Jellyman, Katherine Gillham, Janelle W Ward, Dominique Blache, and Abigail L Fowden

The actions of angiotensin II on type 1 (AT1) and type 2 (AT2) receptor subtypes are important for normal kidney development before birth. This study investigated the effect of AT1 receptor antagonism on renal growth and growth regulators in fetal sheep during late gestation. From 125 days of gestation (term 145±2 days), chronically catheterised sheep fetuses were infused intravenously for 5 days with either an AT1-specific receptor antagonist (GR138950, 2–4 mg/kg per day, n=5) or saline (0.9% NaCl, n=5). Blockade of the AT1 receptor decreased arterial blood oxygenation and pH and increased blood pCO2, haemoglobin and lactate, and plasma cortisol and IGF-II. Blood glucose and plasma thyroid hormones and IGF-I were unchanged between the treatment groups. On the 5th day of infusion, the kidneys of the GR-treated fetuses were lighter than those of the control fetuses, both in absolute and relative terms, and were smaller in transverse cross-sectional width and cortical thickness. In the GR-infused fetuses, renal AT2 receptor protein concentration and glomerular density were significantly greater than in the saline-infused fetuses. Blockade of the AT1 receptor had no effect on relative cortical thickness, fractional or mean glomerular volumes, or renal protein levels of the AT1 receptor, IGF type 1 receptor, insulin receptor or protein kinase C ζ. Therefore, in the ovine fetus, AT1 receptor antagonism causes increased renal protein expression of the AT2 receptor subtype, which, combined with inhibition of AT1 receptor activity, may be partly responsible for growth retardation of the developing kidney.

Free access

Chun Zeng, Xin Yi, Danny Zipris, Hongli Liu, Lin Zhang, Qiaoyun Zheng, Krishnamurthy Malathi, Ge Jin, and Aimin Zhou

The cause of type 1 diabetes continues to be a focus of investigation. Studies have revealed that interferon α (IFNα) in pancreatic islets after viral infection or treatment with double-stranded RNA (dsRNA), a mimic of viral infection, is associated with the onset of type 1 diabetes. However, how IFNα contributes to the onset of type 1 diabetes is obscure. In this study, we found that 2-5A-dependent RNase L (RNase L), an IFNα-inducible enzyme that functions in the antiviral and antiproliferative activities of IFN, played an important role in dsRNA-induced onset of type 1 diabetes. Using RNase L-deficient, rat insulin promoter-B7.1 transgenic mice, which are more vulnerable to harmful environmental factors such as viral infection, we demonstrated that deficiency of RNase L in mice resulted in a significant delay of diabetes onset induced by polyinosinic:polycytidylic acid (poly I:C), a type of synthetic dsRNA, and streptozotocin, a drug which can artificially induce type 1-like diabetes in experimental animals. Immunohistochemical staining results indicated that the population of infiltrated CD8+T cells was remarkably reduced in the islets of RNase L-deficient mice, indicating that RNase L may contribute to type 1 diabetes onset through regulating immune responses. Furthermore, RNase L was responsible for the expression of certain proinflammatory genes in the pancreas under induced conditions. Our findings provide new insights into the molecular mechanism underlying β-cell destruction and may indicate novel therapeutic strategies for treatment and prevention of the disease based on the selective regulation and inhibition of RNase L.

Free access

Hongbin Liu, Anthony E Dear, Lotte B Knudsen, and Richard W Simpson

Glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) administration attenuates endothelial cell dysfunction in diabetic patients and inhibits tumour necrosis factor α (TNF)-mediated plasminogen activator inhibitor type-1 (PAI-1) induction in human vascular endothelial cells. The short half-life of GLP-1 mediated via degradation by the enzyme dipeptidyl peptidase 4 mandates the clinical use of long-acting GLP-1 analogues. The effects of a long-acting GLP-1 analogue on PAI-1 and vascular adhesion molecule expression in vascular endothelial cells are unknown. In this report, we demonstrate for the first time that the treatment with liraglutide, a long-acting GLP-1 analogue, inhibited TNF or hyperglycaemia-mediated induction of PAI-1, intercellular adhesion molecule-1 and vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 mRNA and protein expression in a human vascular endothelial cell line. In addition, treatment attenuated TNF- or hyperglycaemia-mediated induction of the orphan nuclear receptor Nur77 mRNA expression. Taken together, these observations indicate that liraglutide inhibits TNF- or glucose-mediated induction of PAI-1 and vascular adhesion molecule expression, and this effect may involve the modulation of NUR77. These effects suggest that liraglutide may potentially improve the endothelial cell dysfunction associated with premature atherosclerosis identified in type 2 diabetic patients.