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J Clin Invest. 1992 Feb;89(2):432-6.

Feedback inhibition of insulin gene expression by insulin.

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Department of Internal Medicine, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri 63110.


To examine the possible involvement of insulin and glucose in regulation of pancreatic islet gene expression, hyperinsulinemic (insulin infusion 4.1 mU/kg per min) clamps were performed for 12 h in rats at two different levels of glycemia (either 3 or 8 mM). A control group received a saline infusion for 12 h. At the end of the 12-h study period, pancreatic RNA was extracted, proinsulin and amylin mRNAs were measured on total RNA, and glucokinase and glucose transporter (GLUT-2) mRNAs were measured on poly(A)+ RNA by dot blot analysis. In insulin-infused hypoglycemic rats, there was a 58% decrement in proinsulin mRNA (P less than 0.01) relative to levels in controls, with no change in amylin, glucokinase, or islet GLUT-2 mRNAs. In insulin-infused hyperglycemic rats, there was a comparable decrement (44%, P less than 0.01) in proinsulin mRNA and a smaller decrement in GLUT-2 mRNA (32%, P less than 0.05), with no change in amylin or glucokinase mRNAs relative to levels in control animals. These studies suggest that insulin has a negative feedback inhibitory effect on its own synthesis. The mechanism of inhibition is unknown. It could be a direct effect of insulin on its own transcription, or alternatively an indirect effect mediated by humoral or neural factors. Sustained hyperinsulinemia may lead to suppression of normal islet beta cells and may contribute to the ultimate hypoinsulinemia of noninsulin-dependent diabetes mellitus.

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