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J Endocrinol. 2005 Nov;187(2):225-35.

Over-expression of AMP-activated protein kinase impairs pancreatic {beta}-cell function in vivo.

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  • 1Richard Bright Renal Unit, Southmead Hospital, Bristol BS10 5NB, UK.


Treatment of type 1 diabetes by islet transplantation is currently limited by loss of functional beta-cell mass after transplantation. We investigated here whether adenovirus-mediated changes in AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) activity, previously shown to affect insulin secretion in vitro, might affect islet graft function in vivo. In isolated mouse and rat islets, insulin secretion stimulated by 17 (vs 3) mmol/l glucose was inhibited by 36.5% (P<0.01) and 43% (P<0.02) respectively after over-expression of constitutively-active AMPK- (AMPK CA) versus null (eGFP-expressing) viruses, and glucose oxidation was decreased by 38% (P<0.05) and 26.6% (P<0.05) respectively. Increases in apoptotic index (terminal deoxynucleotide transferase-mediated deoxyuridine trisphosphate biotin nick end-labelling) (TUNEL)) were also observed in AMPK CA- (22.8 +/- 3.6% TUNEL-positive cells, P<0.001), but not AMPK DN- (2.72 +/- 3.9%, positive cells, P=0.05) infected islets, versus null adenovirus-treated islets (0.68 +/- 0.36% positive cells). Correspondingly, transplantation of islets expressing AMPK CA into streptozotocin-diabetic C57 BL/6 mice improved glycaemic control less effectively than transplantation with either null (P<0.02) or AMPK-DN-infected (P<0.01) islets. We conclude that activation of AMPK inhibits beta-cell function in vivo and may represent a target for therapeutic intervention during islet transplantation.

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