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Diabetes. 2007 May;56(5):1324-32. Epub 2007 Mar 12.

Toxic human islet amyloid polypeptide (h-IAPP) oligomers are intracellular, and vaccination to induce anti-toxic oligomer antibodies does not prevent h-IAPP-induced beta-cell apoptosis in h-IAPP transgenic mice.

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  • 1Larry Hillblom Islet Research Center, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA 90095-7345, USA.



Islets in type 2 diabetes are characterized by a deficit in beta-cells, increased beta-cell apoptosis, and islet amyloid derived from islet amyloid polypeptide (IAPP). The toxic form of amyloidogenic protein oligomers are distinct and smaller than amyloid fibrils and act by disrupting membranes. Using antibodies that bind to toxic IAPP oligomers (but not IAPP monomers or fibrils) and a vaccination-based approach, we sought to establish whether IAPP toxic oligomers form intra- or extracellularly and whether vaccination to induce anti-toxic oligomer antibodies prevents IAPP-induced apoptosis in human IAPP (h-IAPP) transgenic mice.


Pancreas was sampled from two h-IAPP transgenic mouse models and examined by immunohistochemistry for toxic oligomers. The same murine models were vaccinated with toxic oligomers of Alzheimer beta protein (AbetaP(1-40)) and anti-oligomer titers, and blood glucose and islet pathology were monitored.


Toxic oligomers were detected intracellularly in approximately 20-40% of h-IAPP transgenic beta-cells. Vaccine induced high titers of anti-h-IAPP toxic oligomers in both transgenic models, but beta-cell apoptosis was, if anything, further increased in vaccinated mice, so that neither loss of beta-cell mass nor diabetes onset was delayed.


IAPP toxic oligomers form in h-IAPP transgenic mouse models, and anti-toxic oligomer antibodies do not prevent h-IAPP-induced beta-cell apoptosis. These data suggest that prevention of h-IAPP oligomer formation may be more useful than a vaccination-based approach in the prevention of type 2 diabetes.

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