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J Mol Histol. 2008 Oct;39(5):543-51. doi: 10.1007/s10735-008-9195-9. Epub 2008 Sep 13.

Relationship between pancreatic vesicular monoamine transporter 2 (VMAT2) and insulin expression in human pancreas.

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  • 1Larry Hillblom Islet Research Center, UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine, 900 Weyburn Place #A, Los Angeles, CA, 90024-2852, USA.


Vesicular monoamine transporter 2 (VMAT2) is expressed in pancreatic beta cells and has recently been proposed as a target for measurement of beta cell mass in vivo. We questioned, (1) What proportion of beta cells express VMAT2? (2) Is VMAT2 expressed by other pancreatic endocrine or non-endocrine cells? (3) Is the relationship between VMAT2 and insulin expression disturbed in type 1 (T1DM) or type 2 diabetes (T2DM)? Human pancreas (7 non-diabetics, 5 T2DM, 10 T1DM) was immunostained for insulin, VMAT2 and other pancreatic hormones. Most beta cells expressed VMAT2. VMAT2 expression was not changed by the presence of diabetes. In tail of pancreas VMAT2 immunostaining closely correlated with insulin staining. However, VMAT2 was also expressed in some pancreatic polypeptide (PP) cells. Although VMAT2 was not excluded as a target for beta cell mass measurement, expression of VMAT2 in PP cells predicts residual VMAT2 expression in human pancreas even in the absence of beta cells.

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