Type 2 diabetes (T2D) is a global health issue and dedifferentiation plays underlying causes in the pathophysiology of T2D; however, there is a lack of understanding in the mechanism. Dedifferentiation results from the loss of function of pancreatic β-cells alongside a reduction in essential transcription factors under various physiological stressors. Our study aimed to establish db/db as an animal model for dedifferentiation by using RNA sequencing to compare the gene expression profile in islets isolated from wild-type, db/+ and db/db mice, and qPCR was performed to validate those significant genes. A reduction in both insulin secretion and the expression of Ins1, Ins2, Glut2, Pdx1 and MafA was indicative of dedifferentiation in db/db islets. A comparison of the db/+ and the wild-type islets indicated a reduction in insulin secretion perhaps related to the decreased Mt1. A significant reduction in both Rn45s and Mir6236 was identified in db/+ compared to wild-type islets, which may be indicative of pre-diabetic state. A further significant reduction in RasGRF1, Igf1R and Htt was also identified in dedifferentiated db/db islets. Molecular characterisation of the db/db islets was performed via Ingenuity analysis which identified highly significant genes that may represent new molecular markers of dedifferentiation.
Keywords: Db/db islets; Network analysis; β-cell dedifferentiation.