Pancreatic beta cell senescence contributes to the pathogenesis of type 2 diabetes in high-fat diet-induced diabetic mice

Diabetologia. 2005 Jan;48(1):58-67. doi: 10.1007/s00125-004-1605-2. Epub 2004 Dec 29.


Aims/hypothesis: During the pathogenesis of type 2 diabetes insulin resistance causes compensatory proliferation of beta cells. As beta cells have a limited replication potential, this compensatory proliferation might accelerate cellular senescence and lead to diabetes. We examined the cellular senescence of beta cells after proliferation during lipoglucotoxicity.

Methods: Senescence-associated markers in beta cells were examined in nutrient-induced diabetic C57BL/6J mice that were fed a high-fat diet. After 4 and 12 months of the high-fat diet, intraperitoneal glucose tolerance tests (IPGTTs) and histochemical analyses of Ki-67, p38, senescence-associated beta-galactosidase, and beta cell mass were performed.

Results: At 4 months, the AUC for plasma insulin levels during the IPGTT (AUC(insulin)) was higher, beta cell mass was 3.1-fold greater, and the proliferation of beta cells was 2.2-fold higher than in the control group. However, at 12 months, AUC(insulin) declined, the frequency of Ki-67-positive beta cells decreased to one-third that of the control group, and the senescence-associated, beta-galactosidase-positive area increased to 4.7-fold that of the control group. Moreover, small amounts of p38, which is induced by oxidative stress and mediates cellular senescence, were found in beta cells from the high-fat diet group, but not in beta cells from the control group. Furthermore, the senescence-associated, beta-galactosidase-positive area in the high-fat diet group had a highly significant negative correlation with AUC(insulin) (r=-0.852, p<0.01).

Conclusions/interpretation: Beta cell senescence occurred in diet-induced type 2 diabetes and led to insufficient insulin release. These findings suggest that cellular senescence contributes to the pathogenesis of diet-induced diabetes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Area Under Curve
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Cell Division
  • Cellular Senescence / physiology*
  • Cholesterol / blood
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / etiology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / physiopathology*
  • Dietary Fats*
  • Fatty Acids, Nonesterified / blood
  • Glucose Tolerance Test
  • Insulin / blood
  • Islets of Langerhans / pathology
  • Islets of Langerhans / physiopathology*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL


  • Blood Glucose
  • Dietary Fats
  • Fatty Acids, Nonesterified
  • Insulin
  • Cholesterol