Aims/hypothesis: Type II (non-insulin-dependent) diabetes mellitus is a multifactorial disease in which pancreatic islet amyloid is a characteristic histopathological finding. Islet amyloid fibrils consist of the beta-cell protein "islet amyloid polypeptide" (IAPP)/"amylin". Unlike human IAPP (hIAPP), mouse IAPP cannot form amyloid. In previously generated transgenic mice, high expression of hIAPP as such did not induce islet amyloid formation. To further explore the potential diabetogenic role of amyloidogenic IAPP, we introduced a diabetogenic trait ("ob" mutation) in hIAPP transgenic mice.
Methods: Plasma concentrations of IAPP, insulin and glucose were determined at 3.5 (t1), 6 (t2), and 16-19 months of age (t3). At t3, the mice were killed and the pancreas was analysed (immuno)histochemically.
Results: In non-transgenic ob/ob mice, insulin resistance caused a compensatory increase in insulin production, normalizing the initial hyperglycaemia. In transgenic ob/ob mice, concurrent increase in hIAPP production resulted in extensive islet amyloid formation (more often and more extensive than in transgenic non-ob/ob mice), insulin insufficiency and persistent hyperglycaemia: At t3, plasma insulin levels in transgenic ob/ob mice with amyloid were fourfold lower than in non-transgenic ob/ob mice (p < 0.05), and plasma glucose concentrations in transgenic ob/ ob mice were almost twofold higher (p < 0.05). In addition, the degree of islet amyloid formation in ob/ob mice was positively correlated to the glucose:insulin ratio (r(s) = 0.53, p < 0.05).
Conclusion/interpretation: Islet amyloid is a secondary diabetogenic factor which can be both a consequence of insulin resistance and a cause of insulin insufficiency. [Diabetol