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Jennifer A Crookshank, Daniel Serrano, Gen-Sheng Wang, Christopher Patrick, Baylie S Morgan, Marie-France Paré and Fraser W Scott

It is unknown whether there is a gene signature in pancreas which is associated with type 1 diabetes (T1D). We performed partial pancreatectomies on 30-day preinsulitic, diabetes-prone BioBreeding (BBdp) rats to prospectively identify factors involved in early prediabetes. Microarrays of the biopsies revealed downregulation of endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress, metabolism and apoptosis. Based on these results, additional investigations compared gene expression in control (BBc) and BBdp rats age ~8, 30 and 60 days using RT-qPCR. Neonates had increased ER stress gene expression in pancreas. This was associated with decreased insulin, cleaved caspase-3 and Ins1 whereas Gcg and Pcsk2 were increased. The increase in ER stress was not sustained at 30 days and decreased by 60 days. In parallel, the liver gene profile showed a similar signature in neonates but with an early decrease of the unfolded protein response (UPR) at 30 days. This suggested that changes in the liver precede those in the pancreas. Tnf and Il1b expression was increased in BBdp pancreas in association with increased caspase-1, cleaved caspase-3 and decreased proinsulin area. Glucagon area was increased in both 30-day and 60-day BBdp rats. Increased colocalization of BIP and proinsulin was observed at 60 days in the pancreas, suggesting insulin-related ER dysfunction. We propose that dysregulated metabolism leads to ER stress in neonatal rats long before insulitis, creating a microenvironment in both pancreas and liver that promotes autoimmunity.

Free access

PS Leung, WP Chan, TP Wong and C Sernia

The possibility of an intrinsic renin-angiotensin system (RAS) in the pancreas has been raised by previous studies in which immunohistochemical examination showed the presence of angiotensin II and its receptor subtypes, type 1 (AT1) and type 2 (AT2). In the present study, gene expression of several key RAS components was investigated by reverse-transcription PCR. mRNA expression for angiotensinogen, renin and angiotensin II receptor subtypes, AT1a, AT1b and AT2 was shown. The presence of angiotensinogen protein, the mandatory component for an intrinsic RAS, was demonstrated by Western blotting and localized by immunohistochemistry to the epithelia and endothelia of pancreatic ducts and blood vessels respectively. Immunoblot analysis detected a predominant protein band of about 60 kDa in the pancreas. This was consistent with the predicted value for angiotensinogen as reported in other tissues. Together with previous findings, the present study shows that the rat pancreas expresses the major RAS component genes, notably angiotensinogen and renin, required for intracellular formation of angiotensin II. The data support the notion of an intrinsic RAS in the rat pancreas which may play a role in the regulation of pancreatic functions.

Free access

Sharon H Chou and Christos Mantzoros

Leptin, as a key hormone in energy homeostasis, regulates neuroendocrine function, including reproduction. It has a permissive role in the initiation of puberty and maintenance of the hypothalamic–pituitary–gonadal axis. This is notable in patients with either congenital or acquired leptin deficiency from a state of chronic energy insufficiency. Hypothalamic amenorrhea is the best-studied, with clinical trials confirming a causative role of leptin in hypogonadotropic hypogonadism. Implications of leptin deficiency have also emerged in the pathophysiology of hypogonadism in type 1 diabetes. At the other end of the spectrum, hyperleptinemia may play a role in hypogonadism associated with obesity, polycystic ovarian syndrome, and type 2 diabetes. In these conditions of energy excess, mechanisms of reproductive dysfunction include central leptin resistance as well as direct effects at the gonadal level. Thus, reproductive dysfunction due to energy imbalance at both ends can be linked to leptin.

Free access

Almas R Juma, Pauliina E Damdimopoulou, Sylvia V H Grommen, Wim J M Van de Ven and Bert De Groef

Pleomorphic adenoma gene 1 (PLAG1) belongs to the PLAG family of zinc finger transcription factors along with PLAG-like 1 and PLAG-like 2. The PLAG1 gene is best known as an oncogene associated with certain types of cancer, most notably pleomorphic adenomas of the salivary gland. While the mechanisms of PLAG1-induced tumorigenesis are reasonably well understood, the role of PLAG1 in normal physiology is less clear. It is known that PLAG1 is involved in cell proliferation by directly regulating a wide array of target genes, including a number of growth factors such as insulin-like growth factor 2. This is likely to be a central mode of action for PLAG1 both in embryonic development and in cancer. The phenotype of Plag1 knockout mice suggests an important role for PLAG1 also in postnatal growth and reproduction, as PLAG1 deficiency causes growth retardation and reduced fertility. A role for PLAG1 in growth and reproduction is further corroborated by genome-wide association studies in humans and domestic animals in which polymorphisms in the PLAG1 genomic region are associated with body growth and reproductive traits. Here we review the current evidence for PLAG1 as a regulator of growth and fertility and discuss possible endocrine mechanisms involved.

Free access

Gordon Moody, Pedro J Beltran, Petia Mitchell, Elaina Cajulis, Young-Ah Chung, David Hwang, Richard Kendall, Robert Radinsky, Pinchas Cohen and Frank J Calzone

Ganitumab is a fully human MAB to the human type 1 IGF receptor (IGF1R). Binding assays showed that ganitumab recognized murine IGF1R with sub-nanomolar affinity (K D=0.22 nM) and inhibited the interaction of murine IGF1R with IGF1 and IGF2. Ganitumab inhibited IGF1-induced activation of IGF1R in murine lungs and CT26 murine colon carcinoma cells and tumors. Addition of ganitumab to 5-fluorouracil resulted in enhanced inhibition of tumor growth in the CT26 model. Pharmacological intervention with ganitumab in naïve nude mice resulted in a number of physiological changes described previously in animals with targeted deletions of Igf1 and Igf1r, including inhibition of weight gain, reduced glucose tolerance and significant increase in serum levels of GH, IGF1 and IGFBP3. Flow cytometric analysis identified GR1/CD11b-positive cells as the highest IGF1R-expressing cells in murine peripheral blood. Administration of ganitumab led to a dose-dependent, reversible decrease in the number of peripheral neutrophils with no effect on erythrocytes or platelets. These findings indicate that acute IGF availability for its receptor plays a critical role in physiological growth, glucose metabolism and neutrophil physiology and support the presence of a pituitary IGF1R-driven negative feedback loop that tightly regulates serum IGF1 levels through Gh signaling.

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Globulin preparations (41) from patients with Graves's disease (positive to thyroid stimulating immunoglobulins; TSI) and 12 from healthy persons (TSI-negative) were tested for their specific thyrotrophin (TSH)-binding properties. Globulins from both groups possessed binding sites for 131I-labelled TSH. The mean dissociation constant (K d) was 6·8 pmol/l per mg globulin and the maximum specific binding (B max) was 3·0 pmol/mg globulin per 1 for the TSI-negative control group. Twenty-four (58·5%) globulin preparations from the TSI-positive group had similar TSH-binding characteristics with mean K d of 7·2 pmol/l per mg globulin and B max of 3·6 pmol/mg globulin per 1 (A-type binding) but the remaining 17 (41·5%) bound TSH in a different fashion with K d of 71·5 pmol/l per mg globulin and B max of 13·6 pmol/mg globulin per 1 (B-type binding).

Both types of specific TSH binding reached the maximal level within 1 h of incubation and had an optimum pH of 7–8. There was a linear correlation between the amount of bound TSH and the globulin content of the samples. Both types of binding were reversible by the addition of an excess of TSH and gonadotrophins, ACTH, prolactin and insulin competed with TSH for the binding sites only when in relatively high concentrations. The binding sites were associated with macromolecules; they emerged with the void volume after chromatography on Sephadex G-200 and migrated with immunoglobulin G (IgG) on paper electrophoresis. The binding capacity of the globulin preparations could be decreased by preincubation with antiserum to human IgG or with human thyroid membranes.

Free access

Tamiki Hikake, Shinji Hayashi, Taisen Iguchi and Tomomi Sato

IGF1 knockout (IGF1KO) mice show a reduced number of prolactin (PRL) producing cells (PRL cells); however, the role of IGF1 in PRL cell proliferation and differentiation in immature mice is unclear. In this study, ontogenic changes in the percentages of PRL cells, GH producing cells (GH cells), and 5-bromo-2′-deoxyuridine (BrdU)-labeled cells in the anterior pituitary of male IGF1KO mice during the postnatal period were investigated. The percentage of PRL cells in IGF1KO mice was significantly lower at day 20 compared with that in wild-type (WT) mice, while GH cells in IGF1KO mice were significantly increased from day 10. From days 5 to 20, the percentage of BrdU-labeled cells in WT and IGF1KO mice was similar. PRL cells and GH cells are thought to originate from the same progenitor cells, therefore, PRL cells in IGF1KO mice are not able to differentiate because progenitor cells have already committed to be GH cells. However, IGF1, 17β-estradiol (E2), epidermal growth factor (EGF), or IGF1 plus E2 treatments increased the PRL cell number in the pituitaries in vitro of 10-day-old WT and IGF1KO mice. This fact suggests that these factors are involved in PRL cell proliferation and differentiation. In addition, the increase of PRL cells in IGF1KO mice stimulated by E2 or EGF was less than that of WT mice. Thus, IGF1 plays a crucial role in PRL cell proliferation and differentiation in mouse pituitaries by regulating the differentiation of progenitor cells and mediating the actions of E2 and EGF.

Free access

BD Rodgers, M Bernier and MA Levine

Adipocyte beta-adrenergic sensitivity is compromised in animal models of obesity and type 2 diabetes. Although changes in the membrane concentrations of G-protein alpha subunits (Galpha) have been implicated, it remains to be determined how these changes are affected by insulin resistance in the different animal models. Because previous studies used young animals, we measured the concentrations of Galpha and Gbeta subunits in epididymal fat from aged (48 weeks old) db/db mice and from their lean littermates to more closely reproduce the model of type 2 diabetes mellitus. Levels of immunoreactive Galphas, Galphai(1/2), Galphao and Galphaq/11 were all significantly greater in adipocyte membranes from the db/db mice than in membranes from their lean non-diabetic littermate controls. Levels of Galphai(1) and Galphai(2) were also individually determined and although they appeared to be slightly higher in db/db membranes, these differences were not significant. Although the levels of both Galphas isoforms were elevated, levels of the 42 and 46 kDa proteins rose by approximately 42% and 20% respectively, indicating differential protein processing of Galphas. By contrast, levels of Galphai3 were similar in the two groups. The levels of common Gbeta and Gbeta2 were also elevated in db/db mice, whereas Gbeta1 and Gbeta4 levels were not different. To determine whether these changes were due to insulin resistance per se or to elevated glucocorticoid production, G-protein subunit levels were quantified in whole cell lysates from 3T3-L1 adipocytes that were stimulated with different concentrations of either insulin or corticosterone. Although none of the subunit levels was affected by insulin, the levels of both Galphas isoforms were increased equally by corticosterone in a concentration-dependent manner. Since glucocorticoids are known regulators of Galphas gene expression in many cell types and in adipocytes from diabetic rodents, the results presented herein appear to more accurately reflect diabetic pathophysiology than do those of previous studies which report a decrease in Galphas levels. Taken together, these results indicate that most of the selective changes in G-protein subunit production in adipocytes from this animal model of type 2 diabetes may not be due to diminished insulin sensitivity, but may be due to other endocrine or metabolic abnormalities associated with the diabetic phenotype.

Free access

Shiying Shao, Yun Gao, Bing Xie, Fei Xie, Sai Kiang Lim and GuoDong Li

Shortage of cadaveric pancreata and requirement of immune suppression are two major obstacles in transplantation therapy of type 1 diabetes. Here, we investigate whether i.p. transplantation of alginate-encapsulated insulin-producing cells from the embryo-derived mouse embryo progenitor-derived insulin-producing-1 (MEPI-1) line could lower hyperglycemia in immune-competent, allogeneic diabetic mice. Within days after transplantation, hyperglycemia was reversed followed by about 2.5 months of normo- to moderate hypoglycemia before relapsing. Mice transplanted with unencapsulated MEPI cells relapsed within 2 weeks. Removal of the transplanted capsules by washing of the peritoneal cavity caused an immediate relapse of hyperglycemia that could be reversed with a second transplantation. The removed capsules had fibrotic overgrowth but remained permeable to 70 kDa dextrans and displayed glucose-stimulated insulin secretion. Following transplantation, the number of cells in capsules increased initially, before decreasing to below the starting cell number at 75 days. Histological examination showed that beyond day 40 post-transplantation, encapsulated cell clusters exhibited proliferating cells with a necrotic core. Blood glucose, insulin levels, and oral glucose tolerance test in the transplanted animals correlated directly with the number of viable cells remaining in the capsules. Our study demonstrated that encapsulation could effectively protect MEPI cells from the host immune system without compromising their ability to correct hyperglycemia in immune-competent diabetic mice for 2.5 months, thereby providing proof that immunoisolation of expansible but immune-incompatible stem cell-derived surrogate β-cells by encapsulation is a viable diabetes therapy.

Free access

Susan Kralisch, Anke Tönjes, Kerstin Krause, Judit Richter, Ulrike Lossner, Peter Kovacs, Thomas Ebert, Matthias Blüher, Michael Stumvoll and Mathias Fasshauer

Rather than a traditional growth factor, fibroblast growth factor-21 (FGF21) is considered to be a metabolic hormone. In the current study, we investigated serum FGF21 levels in the self-contained population of Sorbs. Serum FGF21 concentrations were quantified by ELISA and correlated with IGF1 as well as metabolic, renal, hepatic, inflammatory, and cardiovascular parameters in 913 Sorbs from Germany. Moreover, human IGF1 protein secretion was investigated in FGF21-stimulated HepG2 cells. Median FGF21 serum concentrations were 2.1-fold higher in subjects with type 2 diabetes mellitus (141.8 ng/l) compared with controls (66.7 ng/l). Furthermore, nondiabetic subjects with FGF21 levels below the detection limit of the ELISA showed a more beneficial metabolic profile compared with subjects with measurable FGF21. Moreover, FGF21 was significantly lower in female compared with male subjects after adjustment for age and BMI. In multiple regression analyses, circulating FGF21 concentrations remained independently and positively associated with gender, systolic blood pressure, triglycerides, and γ glutamyl transferase whereas a negative association was observed with IGF1 in nondiabetic subjects. Notably, FGF21 significantly inhibited IGF1 secretion into HepG2 cell culture supernatants in preliminary in vitro experiments. FGF21 serum concentrations are associated with facets of the metabolic syndrome, hepatocellular function, as well as GH status.