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Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2003 Sep;285(3):E577-83.

Betacellulin improves glucose metabolism by promoting conversion of intraislet precursor cells to beta-cells in streptozotocin-treated mice.

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Institute for Molecular and Cellular Regulation, Gunma Univ., Maebashi 371-8512, Japan.


Betacellulin (BTC) induces differentiation of pancreatic beta-cells and promotes regeneration of beta-cells in experimental diabetes. The present study was conducted to determine if BTC improved glucose metabolism in severe diabetes induced by a high dose of streptozotocin (STZ) in mice. Male ICR mice were injected with 200 microg/g ip STZ, and various doses of BTC were administered daily for 14 days. The plasma glucose concentration increased to a level of >500 mg/dl in STZ-injected mice. BTC (0.2 microg/g) significantly reduced the plasma glucose concentration, but a higher concentration was ineffective. The effect of BTC was marked by day 4 but became smaller on day 6 or later. The plasma insulin concentration and the insulin content were significantly higher in mice treated with 0.1 and 0.2 microg/g BTC. BTC treatment significantly increased the number of beta-cells in each islet as well as the number of insulin-positive islets. Within islets, the numbers of 5-bromo-2-deoxyuridine/somatostatin-positive cells and pancreatic duodenal homeobox-1/somatostatin-positive cells were significantly increased by BTC. These results indicate that BTC improved hyperglycemia induced by a high dose of STZ by promoting neoformation of beta-cells, mainly from somatostatin-positive islet cells.

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