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Diabetologia. 2009 Jun;52(6):1102-11. doi: 10.1007/s00125-009-1329-4. Epub 2009 Apr 8.

Amyloid formation in human IAPP transgenic mouse islets and pancreas, and human pancreas, is not associated with endoplasmic reticulum stress.

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  • 1Division of Metabolism, Endocrinology and Nutrition, VA Puget Sound Health Care System (151), Seattle, WA 98108, USA.



Supraphysiological levels of the amyloidogenic peptide human islet amyloid polypeptide have been associated with beta cell endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress. However, in human type 2 diabetes, levels of human IAPP are equivalent or decreased relative to matched controls. Thus, we sought to investigate whether ER stress is induced during amyloidogenesis at physiological levels of human IAPP.


Islets from human IAPP transgenic mice that develop amyloid, and non-transgenic mice that do not, were cultured for up to 7 days in 11.1, 16.7 and 33.3 mmol/l glucose. Pancreases from human IAPP transgenic and non-transgenic mice and humans with or without type 2 diabetes were also evaluated. Amyloid formation was determined histologically. ER stress was determined in islets by quantifying mRNA levels of Bip, Atf4 and Chop (also known as Ddit3) and alternate splicing of Xbp1 mRNA, or in pancreases by immunostaining for immunoglobulin heavy chain-binding protein (BIP), C/EBP homologous protein (CHOP) and X-box binding protein 1 (XBP1).


Amyloid formation in human IAPP transgenic islets was associated with reduced beta cell area in a glucose- and time-dependent manner. However, amyloid formation was not associated with significant increases in expression of ER stress markers under any culture condition. Thapsigargin treatment, a positive control, did result in significant ER stress. Amyloid formation in vivo in pancreas samples from human IAPP transgenic mice or humans was not associated with upregulation of ER stress markers.


Our data suggest that ER stress is not an obligatory pathway mediating the toxic effects of amyloid formation at physiological levels of human IAPP.

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