Connective tissue growth factor (CTGF) inactivation leads to defects in islet cell lineage allocation and beta-cell proliferation during embryogenesis.
ABSTRACT: The factors necessary for normal pancreatic islet morphogenesis have not been well characterized. Here we report that connective tissue growth factor (CTGF) is involved in the establishment of normal islet endocrine cell ratio and architecture. CTGF is a secreted protein known to modulate several growth factor-signaling pathways including TGF-beta, BMP, and Wnt. Although its role in pancreatic diseases such as pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer are well documented, a role for CTGF in normal pancreas development and function has heretofore not been examined. Using a lacZ-tagged CTGF allele, we describe for the first time the expression pattern of CTGF in the developing pancreas and the requirement of CTGF for normal islet morphogenesis and embryonic beta-cell proliferation. CTGF is highly expressed in pancreatic ductal epithelium and vascular endothelium, as well as at lower levels in developing insulin(+) cells, but becomes down-regulated in beta-cells soon after birth. Pancreata from CTGF null embryos have an increase in glucagon(+) cells with a concomitant decrease in insulin(+) cells, and show defects in islet morphogenesis. Loss of CTGF also results in a dramatic decrease in beta-cell proliferation at late gestation. Unlike CTGF null embryos, CTGF heterozygotes survive past birth and exhibit a range of islet phenotypes, including an intermingling of islet cell types, increased number of glucagon(+) cells, and beta-cell hypertrophy.
Project description:Type 1 and type 2 diabetes result from an absolute or relative reduction in functional ?-cell mass. One approach to replacing lost ?-cell mass is transplantation of cadaveric islets; however, this approach is limited by lack of adequate donor tissue. Therefore, there is much interest in identifying factors that enhance ?-cell differentiation and proliferation in vivo or in vitro. Connective tissue growth factor (CTGF) is a secreted molecule expressed in endothelial cells, pancreatic ducts, and embryonic ? cells that we previously showed is required for ?-cell proliferation, differentiation, and islet morphogenesis during development. The current study investigated the tissue interactions by which CTGF promotes normal pancreatic islet development. We found that loss of CTGF from either endothelial cells or ? cells results in decreased embryonic ?-cell proliferation, making CTGF unique as an identified ? cell-derived factor that regulates embryonic ?-cell proliferation. Endothelial CTGF inactivation was associated with decreased islet vascularity, highlighting the proposed role of endothelial cells in ?-cell proliferation. Furthermore, CTGF overexpression in ? cells during embryogenesis using an inducible transgenic system increased islet mass at birth by promoting proliferation of immature ? cells, in the absence of changes in islet vascularity. Together, these findings demonstrate that CTGF acts in an autocrine manner during pancreas development and suggest that CTGF has the potential to enhance expansion of immature ? cells in directed differentiation or regeneration protocols.
Project description:The pancreatic islet is necessary for maintaining glucose homeostasis. Within the pancreatic islet, the homeodomain protein Nkx2.2 is essential for the differentiation of all insulin-producing beta cells and a subset of glucagon-producing alpha cells (1). Mice lacking Nkx2.2 have relatively normal sized islets, but a large number of cells within the mutant islet fail to produce any of the four major islet hormones. In this study we demonstrate that Nkx2.2 mutant endocrine cells have been replaced by cells that produce ghrelin, an appetite-promoting peptide predominantly found in the stomach. Intriguingly, normal mouse pancreas also contains a small population of ghrelin-producing cells, defining a new islet "epsilon" cell population. The expansion of ghrelin-producing cells at the expense of beta cells may be a general phenomenon, because we demonstrate that Pax4 mutant mice display a similar phenotype. We propose that insulin and ghrelin cells share a common progenitor and that Nkx2.2 and Pax4 are required to specify or maintain differentiation of the beta cell fate. This finding also suggests that there is a genetic component underlying the balance between insulin and ghrelin in regulating glucose metabolism.
Project description:Ghrelin is a peptide hormone that has been implicated in the regulation of food intake and energy homeostasis. Ghrelin is predominantly produced in the stomach, but is also expressed in many other tissues where its functions are not well characterized. In the rodent and human pancreas, ghrelin levels peak at late gestation and gradually decline postnatally. Several studies have suggested that ghrelin regulates beta cell function during embryonic development and in the adult. In addition, in a number of mouse models, ghrelin cells appear to replace insulin- and glucagon-producing cells in the islet. In this analysis, we investigated whether the absence or overexpression of ghrelin influenced the development and differentiation of the pancreatic islet during embryonic development. These studies revealed that ghrelin is dispensable for normal pancreas development during gestation. Conversely, we demonstrated that elevated ghrelin in the Nkx2.2 null islets is not responsible for the absence of insulin- and glucagon-producing cells. Finally, we have also determined that in the absence of insulin, ghrelin cells form in their normal numbers and ghrelin is expressed at wild type levels.
Project description:Pancreatic islets, discrete microorgans embedded within the exocrine pancreas, contain beta cells which are critical for glucose homeostasis. Loss or dysfunction of beta cells leads to diabetes, a disease with expanding global prevalence, and for which regenerative therapies are actively being pursued. Recent efforts have focused on producing mature beta cells in vitro, but it is increasingly recognized that achieving a faithful three-dimensional islet structure is crucial for generating fully functional beta cells. Our current understanding of islet morphogenesis is far from complete, due to the deep internal location of the pancreas in mammalian models, which hampers direct visualization. Zebrafish is a model system well suited for studies of pancreas morphogenesis due to its transparency and the accessible location of the larval pancreas. In order to further clarify the cellular mechanisms of islet formation, we have developed new tools for in vivo visualization of single-cell dynamics. Our results show that clustering islet cells make contact and interconnect through dynamic actin-rich processes, move together while remaining in close proximity to the duct, and maintain high protrusive motility after forming clusters. Quantitative analyses of cell morphology and motility in 3-dimensions lays the groundwork to define therapeutically applicable factors responsible for orchestrating the morphogenic behaviors of coalescing endocrine cells.
Project description:Cell-cell and cell-matrix interactions play a critical role in tissue morphogenesis and in homeostasis of adult tissues. The integrin family of adhesion receptors regulates cellular interactions with the extracellular matrix, which provides three-dimensional information for tissue organization. It is currently thought that pancreatic islet cells develop from undifferentiated progenitors residing within the ductal epithelium of the fetal pancreas. This process involves cell budding from the duct, migration into the surrounding mesenchyme, differentiation, and clustering into the highly organized islet of Langerhans. Here we report that alpha(v)beta(3) and alpha(v)beta(5), two integrins known to coordinate epithelial cell adhesion and movement, are expressed in pancreatic ductal cells and clusters of undifferentiated cells emerging from the ductal epithelium. We show that expression and function of alpha(v)beta(3) and alpha(v)beta(5) integrins are developmentally regulated during pancreatic islet ontogeny, and mediate adhesion and migration of putative endocrine progenitor cells both in vitro and in vivo in a model of pancreatic islet development. Moreover, we demonstrate the expression of fibronectin and collagen IV in the basal membrane of pancreatic ducts and of cell clusters budding from the ductal epithelium. Conversely, expression of vitronectin marks a population of epithelial cells adjacent to, or emerging from, pancreatic ducts. Thus, these data provide the first evidence for the contribution of integrins alpha(v)beta(3) and alpha(v)beta(5) and their ligands to morphogenetic events in the human endocrine pancreas.
Project description:During pregnancy, maternal ? cells undergo compensatory changes including hypertrophy, hyperplasia, and increased glucose-stimulated insulin secretion (GSIS). Failure of these adaptations to occur can result in gestational diabetes mellitus. The secreted protein, Connective tissue growth factor (Ctgf), is critical for normal ? cell development and promotes regeneration after partial ? cell ablation. During embryogenesis, Ctgf is expressed in pancreatic ducts, vasculature, and ? cells. In the adult pancreas, Ctgf is expressed only in the vasculature. Here, we report that pregnant mice with global Ctgf haploinsufficiency (CtgfLacZ/+) have an impairment in maternal ? cell proliferation, while ? cell proliferation in virgin CtgfLacZ/+ females is unaffected. Additionally, ?-cell proliferation, ? cell size, and GSIS were unaffected in CtgfLacZ/+ mice, suggesting that vascular-derived Ctgf has a specific role in islet compensation during pregnancy.
Project description:We studied the intra-islet localization of the glucagon-like peptide 1 receptor (GLP-1R) by colocalization studies of the GLP-1R mRNA and protein with islet cell hormones in mice, rats, and humans. In contrast to previous reports, we show that the GLP-1R is selectively located on the beta cells. The localization of GLP-1R in islets and ducts was studied using ISH and double and triple fluorescence microscopy. In normal pancreatic tissue from mice and rats, GLP-1R mRNA was only detectable in the beta cells. Double and triple immunofluorescence using two different GLP-1R antisera and combinations of insulin, glucagon, pancreatic polypeptide, and somatostatin showed that GLP-1R protein is almost exclusively colocalized with insulin. The same pattern was observed in human pancreas, but the GLP-1R expression was more heterogeneous, with populations of insulin immunoreactive cells with high and low expression. This is the first time that the GLP-1R has been localized in human islets. Furthermore, GLP-1R immunoreactivity was found in the pancreatic ducts in mouse, rat, and human pancreas. As an important confirmation of the specificity of our methods, we found no signals for GLP-1R mRNA or protein in pancreatic tissue from gene-targeted GLP-1R-deficient mice. In conclusion, our data suggest that the GLP-1 receptor is restricted to the pancreatic beta cells and the lack of receptor immunoreactivity on delta cells cannot be explained suitably to correspond with published in vivo and in vitro data. This manuscript contains online supplemental material at http://www.jhc.org. Please visit this article online to view these materials.
Project description:The islet of Langerhans is a unique micro-organ within the exocrine pancreas, which is composed of insulin-secreting beta-cells, glucagon-secreting alpha-cells, somatostatin-secreting delta-cells, pancreatic polypeptide-secreting PP cells and ghrelin-secreting epsilon-cells. Islets also contain non-endocrine cell types such as endothelial cells. However, the mechanism(s) of islet formation is poorly understood due to technical difficulties in capturing this dynamic event in situ. We have developed a method to monitor beta-cell proliferation and islet formation in the intact pancreas using transgenic mice in which the beta-cells are specifically tagged with a fluorescent protein. Endocrine cells proliferate contiguously, forming branched cord-like structures in both embryos and neonates. Our study has revealed long stretches of interconnected islets located along large blood vessels in the neonatal pancreas. Alpha-cells span the elongated islet-like structures, which we hypothesize represent sites of fission and facilitate the eventual formation of discrete islets. We propose that islet formation occurs by a process of fission following contiguous endocrine cell proliferation, rather than by local aggregation or fusion of isolated beta-cells and islets. Mathematical modeling of the fission process in the neonatal islet formation is also presented.
Project description:Sirtuin 1 (Sirt1) has been reported to be a critical positive regulator of glucose-stimulated insulin secretion in pancreatic beta-cells. The effects on islet cells and blood glucose levels when Sirt1 is deleted specifically in the pancreas are still unclear.This study examined islet glucose responsiveness, blood glucose levels, pancreatic islet histology and gene expression in Pdx1Cre; Sirt1ex4F/F mice that have loss of function and loss of expression of Sirt1 specifically in the pancreas.We found that in the Pdx1Cre; Sirt1ex4F/F mice, the relative insulin positive area and the islet size distribution were unchanged. However, beta-cells were functionally impaired, presenting with lower glucose-stimulated insulin secretion. This defect was not due to a reduced expression of insulin but was associated with a decreased expression of the glucose transporter Slc2a2/Glut2 and of the Glucagon like peptide-1 receptor (Glp1r) as well as a marked down regulation of endoplasmic reticulum (ER) chaperones that participate in the Unfolded Protein Response (UPR) pathway. Counter intuitively, the Sirt1-deficient mice did not develop hyperglycemia. Pancreatic polypeptide (PP) cells were the only other islet cells affected, with reduced numbers in the Sirt1-deficient pancreas.This study provides new mechanistic insights showing that beta-cell function in Sirt1-deficient pancreas is affected due to altered glucose sensing and deregulation of the UPR pathway. Interestingly, we uncovered a context in which impaired beta-cell function is not accompanied by increased glycemia. This points to a unique compensatory mechanism. Given the reduction in PP, investigation of its role in the control of blood glucose is warranted.
Project description:AIMS/HYPOTHESIS:Sphingolipid metabolism regulates beta cell biology and inflammation and is abnormal at the onset of type 1 diabetes. Fenofibrate, a regulator of sphingolipid metabolism, is known to prevent diabetes in NOD mice. Here, we aimed to investigate the effects of fenofibrate on the pancreatic lipidome, pancreas morphology, pancreatic sympathetic nerves and blood glucose homeostasis in NOD mice. METHODS:We treated female NOD mice with fenofibrate from 3 weeks of age. The pancreatic lipidome was analysed using MS. Analysis of pancreas and islet volume was performed by stereology. Islet sympathetic nerve fibre volume was evaluated using tyrosine hydroxylase staining. The effect on blood glucose homeostasis was assessed by measuring non-fasting blood glucose from age 12 to 30 weeks. Furthermore, we measured glucose tolerance, fasting insulin and glucagon levels, and insulin tolerance. RESULTS:We found that fenofibrate selectively increases the amount of very-long-chain sphingolipids in the pancreas of NOD mice. In addition, we found that fenofibrate causes a remodelling of the pancreatic lipidome with an increased amount of lysoglycerophospholipids. Fenofibrate did not affect islet or pancreas volume, but led to a higher volume of islet sympathetic nerve fibres and tyrosine hydroxylase-positive cells. Fenofibrate-treated NOD mice had a more stable blood glucose, which was associated with reduced non-fasting and increased fasting blood glucose. Furthermore, fenofibrate improved glucose tolerance, reduced fasting glucagon levels and prevented fasting hyperinsulinaemia. CONCLUSIONS/INTERPRETATION:These data indicate that fenofibrate alters the pancreatic lipidome to a more anti-inflammatory and anti-apoptotic state. The beneficial effects on islet sympathetic nerve fibres and blood glucose homeostasis indicate that fenofibrate could be used as a therapeutic approach to improve blood glucose homeostasis and prevent diabetes-associated pathologies.