Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
PLoS One. 2009;4(5):e5555. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0005555. Epub 2009 May 18.

Exploring functional beta-cell heterogeneity in vivo using PSA-NCAM as a specific marker.

Author information

  • 1Laboratoire de Physiopathologie de la Nutrition, Université Paris Diderot, CNRS UMR 7059, Paris, France.



The mass of pancreatic beta-cells varies according to increases in insulin demand. It is hypothesized that functionally heterogeneous beta-cell subpopulations take part in this process. Here we characterized two functionally distinct groups of beta-cells and investigated their physiological relevance in increased insulin demand conditions in rats.


Two rat beta-cell populations were sorted by FACS according to their PSA-NCAM surface expression, i.e. beta(high) and beta(low)-cells. Insulin release, Ca(2+) movements, ATP and cAMP contents in response to various secretagogues were analyzed. Gene expression profiles and exocytosis machinery were also investigated. In a second part, beta(high) and beta(low)-cell distribution and functionality were investigated in animal models with decreased or increased beta-cell function: the Zucker Diabetic Fatty rat and the 48 h glucose-infused rat.


We show that beta-cells are heterogeneous for PSA-NCAM in rat pancreas. Unlike beta(low)-cells, beta(high)-cells express functional beta-cell markers and are highly responsive to various insulin secretagogues. Whereas beta(low)-cells represent the main population in diabetic pancreas, an increase in beta(high)-cells is associated with gain of function that follows sustained glucose overload.


Our data show that a functional heterogeneity of beta-cells, assessed by PSA-NCAM surface expression, exists in vivo. These findings pinpoint new target populations involved in endocrine pancreas plasticity and in beta-cell defects in type 2 diabetes.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Public Library of Science Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Support Center