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.