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Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2006 Jan 27;339(4):1063-8. Epub 2005 Dec 1.

Notch signaling: a mediator of beta-cell de-differentiation in diabetes?

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Laboratory of Experimental Medicine, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium.


Cytokines are mediators of pancreatic beta-cell dysfunction and death in type 1 diabetes mellitus. Microarray analyses of insulin-producing cells exposed to interleukin-1beta+interferon-gamma showed decreased expression of genes related to beta-cell-differentiated functions and increased expression of members of the Notch signaling pathway. Re-expression of this developmental pathway may contribute for loss-of-function of beta-cells exposed to an autoimmune attack. In this study, we show that rat primary beta-cells exposed to cytokines up-regulate several Notch receptors and ligands, and the target gene Hes1. Transfection of insulin-producing INS-1E cells and primary rat beta-cells with a constitutively active form of the Notch receptor down-regulated Pdx1 and insulin expression in INS-1E cells but not in primary beta-cells. Thus, activation of the Notch pathway inhibits differentiated functions in dividing but not in terminally differentiated beta-cells.

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