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FASEB J. 2008 Oct;22(10):3581-94. doi: 10.1096/fj.08-111690. Epub 2008 Jun 13.

Thioredoxin-interacting protein deficiency induces Akt/Bcl-xL signaling and pancreatic beta-cell mass and protects against diabetes.

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Department of Medicine, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin 53792, USA.


Pancreatic beta-cell loss through apoptosis represents a key factor in the pathogenesis of diabetes; however, no effective approaches to block this process and preserve endogenous beta-cell mass are currently available. To study the role of thioredoxin-interacting protein (TXNIP), a proapoptotic beta-cell factor we recently identified, we used HcB-19 (TXNIP nonsense mutation) and beta-cell-specific TXNIP knockout (bTKO) mice. Interestingly, HcB-19 mice demonstrate increased adiposity, but have lower blood glucose levels and increased pancreatic beta-cell mass (as assessed by morphometry). Moreover, HcB-19 mice are resistant to streptozotocin-induced diabetes. When intercrossed with obese, insulin-resistant, and diabetic mice, double-mutant BTBRlep(ob/ob)txnip(hcb/hcb) are even more obese, but are protected against diabetes and beta-cell apoptosis, resulting in a 3-fold increase in beta-cell mass. Beta-cell-specific TXNIP deletion also enhanced beta-cell mass (P<0.005) and protected against diabetes, and terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated nick end labeling (TUNEL) revealed a approximately 50-fold reduction in beta-cell apoptosis in streptozotocin-treated bTKO mice. We further discovered that TXNIP deficiency induces Akt/Bcl-xL signaling and inhibits mitochondrial beta-cell death, suggesting that these mechanisms may mediate the beta-cell protective effects of TXNIP deficiency. These results suggest that lowering beta-cell TXNIP expression could serve as a novel strategy for the treatment of type 1 and type 2 diabetes by promoting endogenous beta-cell survival.

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