Reduced beta-cell mass and expression of oxidative stress-related DNA damage in the islet of Japanese Type II diabetic patients

Diabetologia. 2002 Jan;45(1):85-96. doi: 10.1007/s125-002-8248-z.


Aims/hypothesis: We examined the pancreatic islet lesions in Japanese patients with Type II diabetes mellitus to determine if the damage was related to oxidative stress.

Methods: Morphometric analyses were performed on immunostained sections of the tail portion of the pancreas from 14 diabetic and 15 non-diabetic patients. Amyloid deposition and oxidative stress-induced tissue damage were evaluated by Congo-red staining and immunostaining. Resistance to oxidative stress was assessed from immunostaining results for Cu, Zn-superoxide dismutase (SOD). Expression of (pro)insulin mRNA was assessed by in situ hybridisation.

Results: The pancreas from diabetic patients had amyloid deposition in about 15 % of the islets, intensified reactions of 8-OHdG and HNE, as well as reduced expression of SOD. Islet volume density of beta cells and total beta-cell mass in the pancreas from diabetic patients were reduced by 22 % (p < 0.001) and 30 % (p < 0.05). Islet volume density and total mass of (pro)insulin mRNA-positive cells were similarly reduced in diabetic patients by 22 % (p < 0.001) and 39 % (p < 0.05), respectively. Islet volume density of A cells was increased by 20 % (p < 0.001) but total mass did not change. There were no changes in volume densities of islet, D and PP cells. Reduced beta-cell volume density correlated with increased positive staining of 8-OHdG.

Conclusion/interpretation: Japanese Type II diabetic patients show a reduction of beta-cell mass and evidence of increased oxidative stress-related tissue damage that is correlated with the extent of the beta-cell lesions.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Amyloid / analysis
  • Asian Continental Ancestry Group
  • DNA Damage*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / genetics
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / pathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • In Situ Hybridization
  • Insulin / genetics
  • Islets of Langerhans / anatomy & histology*
  • Islets of Langerhans / pathology
  • Japan
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Oxidative Stress*
  • Reference Values
  • Superoxide Dismutase / analysis
  • Transcription, Genetic


  • Amyloid
  • Insulin
  • Superoxide Dismutase