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Exp Physiol. 2013 Feb;98(2):564-75. doi: 10.1113/expphysiol.2012.068734. Epub 2012 Oct 5.

Overexpression of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor α in pancreatic β-cells improves glucose tolerance in diet-induced obese mice.

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  • 1Northern Medical Program, University of Northern British Columbia, Prince George, BC, Canada.


Lipotoxicity is implicated in pancreatic β-cell dysfunction in obesity-induced type 2 diabetes. In vitro, activation of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor α (PPARα) has been shown to protect pancreatic β-cells from the lipotoxic effects of palmitate, thereby preserving insulin secretion. Utilizing an adeno-associated virus (dsAAV8), overexpression of PPARα was induced specifically in pancreatic β-cells of adult, C57Bl/6 mice fed a high-fat diet for 20 weeks and carbohydrate metabolism and β-cell mass assessed. We show that overexpression of PPARα in pancreatic β-cells in vivo preserves β-cell function in obesity, and this improves glucose tolerance by preserving insulin secretion in comparison to control mice with diet-induced obesity. No changes in β-cell mass were observed in PPARα-overexpressing mice compared with diet-induced obese control animals. This model of β-cell-specific PPARα overexpression provides a useful in vivo model for elucidating the mechanisms underlying β-cell lipotoxicity in obesity-induced type 2 diabetes.

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