Caloric restriction (CR) is the only environmental intervention with robust evidence that it extends lifespan and delays the symptoms of aging, but its mechanisms are incompletely understood. Based on the prolonged longevity of knockout models, it was hypothesized that the insulin-IGF pathway could be a target for developing a CR mimic. This study aimed to test whether CR has additive effects on glucose homeostasis and beta-cell function in mice with reduced insulin gene dosage. To study models with a range of basal insulin levels, wild-type C57BL/6J and mice on an Ins2 − / − background, were put on 8 weeks of 40% CR at various ages. Both male and female mice rapidly lost weight due to a reduced WAT mass. Glucose tolerance was improved and fasting glucose levels were reduced by CR in both wild type and 45- and 70-week-old Ins2 − / − mice. The effects of CR and reduced insulin on glucose tolerance were non-additive in 20-week-old mice. Interestingly, mice on CR generally exhibited an inability to further depress blood glucose after insulin injection, pointing to possible alterations in insulin sensitivity. In conclusion, our results demonstrate that CR can cause weight loss in the context of reduced insulin production, but that CR-improved glucose homeostasis does not occur near the ‘insulin floor’ in young mice. Collectively, these data shed further light on the relationships between CR, insulin and glucose homeostasis.
Marleen B Dommerholt, Derek A Dionne, Daria F Hutchinson, Janine K Kruit and James D Johnson
Niels L Mulder, Rick Havinga, Joost Kluiver, Albert K Groen and Janine K Kruit
MicroRNAs have emerged as essential regulators of beta cell function and beta cell proliferation. One of these microRNAs, miR-132, is highly induced in several obesity models and increased expression of miR-132 in vitro modulates glucose-stimulated insulin secretion. The aim of this study was to investigate the therapeutic benefits of miR-132 overexpression on beta cell function in vivo. To overexpress miR-132 specifically in beta cells, we employed adeno-associated virus (AAV8)-mediated gene transfer using the rat insulin promoter in a double-stranded, self-complementary AAV vector to overexpress miR-132. Treatment of mice with dsAAV8-RIP-mir132 increased miR-132 expression in beta cells without impacting expression of miR-212 or miR-375. Surprisingly, overexpression of miR-132 did not impact glucose homeostasis in chow-fed animals. Overexpression of miR-132 did improve insulin secretion and hence glucose homeostasis in high-fat diet-fed mice. Furthermore, miR-132 overexpression increased beta cell proliferation in mice fed a high-fat diet. In conclusion, our data show that AAV8-mediated gene transfer of miR-132 to beta cells improves beta cell function in mice in response to a high-fat diet. This suggests that increased miR-132 expression is beneficial for beta cell function during hyperglycemia and obesity.