Expression of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPARgamma) in normal human pancreatic islet cells

Diabetologia. 2000 Sep;43(9):1165-9. doi: 10.1007/s001250051508.


Aims/hypothesis: Thiazolidinediones are reported to improve pancreatic islet morphology and beta-cell function in rodents, supporting the hypothesis of a direct action of thiazolidinediones on endocrine islet cells. In this study we examined the expression of the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma, a nuclear receptor that is activated by naturally occurring fatty acids and synthetic thiazolidinediones, in normal human endocrine pancreatic cells.

Methods: Human islets were isolated from pancreata harvested in ten brain-dead lean non-diabetic adult donors. We analysed the gene and protein expression of the human peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma and evaluated the effects of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma agonist on insulin secretion in human islet preparations.

Results: The RT-PCR carried out on total RNA from four distinct human islet preparations demonstrated the presence of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma mRNA. Western blot analysis showed the consistent expression of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma protein. Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma was shown to be present in all three endocrine cell types studied (alpha, beta and delta cells) by immunohistochemistry.

Conclusion/interpretation: We found that peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma is highly expressed in human islet endocrine cells, both at the mRNA and protein levels. These results support the hypothesis of a direct influence of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma agonist on human pancreatic endocrine cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue / cytology
  • Adipose Tissue / metabolism
  • Adult
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / genetics
  • Glucagon / analysis
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Insulin / analysis
  • Insulin / metabolism
  • Insulin Secretion
  • Islets of Langerhans / cytology
  • Islets of Langerhans / metabolism
  • Islets of Langerhans / physiology*
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • Receptors, Cytoplasmic and Nuclear / analysis
  • Receptors, Cytoplasmic and Nuclear / genetics*
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Somatostatin / analysis
  • Transcription Factors / analysis
  • Transcription Factors / genetics*
  • Transcription, Genetic*


  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Insulin
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Receptors, Cytoplasmic and Nuclear
  • Transcription Factors
  • Somatostatin
  • Glucagon