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Endocrinology. 2010 May;151(5):2050-9. doi: 10.1210/en.2009-1199. Epub 2010 Mar 9.

Glucose intolerance and impaired insulin secretion in pancreas-specific signal transducer and activator of transcription-3 knockout mice are associated with microvascular alterations in the pancreas.

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Singapore Bioimaging Consortium, Agency for Science, Technology, and Research, Singapore 138667.


Maintenance of glucose homeostasis depends on adequate amount and precise pattern of insulin secretion, which is determined by both beta-cell secretory processes and well-developed microvascular network within endocrine pancreas. The development of highly organized microvasculature and high degrees of capillary fenestrations in endocrine pancreas is greatly dependent on vascular endothelial growth factor-A (VEGF-A) from islet cells. However, it is unclear how VEGF-A production is regulated in endocrine pancreas. To understand whether signal transducer and activator of transcription (STAT)-3 is involved in VEGF-A regulation and subsequent islet and microvascular network development, we generated a mouse line carrying pancreas-specific deletion of STAT3 (p-KO) and performed physiological analyses both in vivo and using isolated islets, including glucose and insulin tolerance tests, and insulin secretion measurements. We also studied microvascular network and islet development by using immunohistochemical methods. The p-KO mice exhibited glucose intolerance and impaired insulin secretion in vivo but normal insulin secretion in isolated islets. Microvascular density in the pancreas was reduced in p-KO mice, along with decreased expression of VEGF-A, but not other vasotropic factors in islets in the absence of pancreatic STAT3 signaling. Together, our study suggests that pancreatic STAT3 signaling is required for the normal development and maintenance of endocrine pancreas and islet microvascular network, possibly through its regulation of VEGF-A.

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