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Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol. 2010 Aug;299(2):G413-21. doi: 10.1152/ajpgi.00500.2009. Epub 2010 May 20.

Pancreatic acinar-specific overexpression of Reg2 gene offered no protection against either experimental diabetes or pancreatitis in mice.

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Department of Medicine, McGill University Health Centre, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.


Reg proteins are normally expressed in pancreatic acinar cells, and the level of several of these proteins was significantly induced upon damage to the endocrine or exocrine pancreas. It has been established that Reg1 and pancreatic islet neogenesis-associated protein [INGAP, Reg3delta] promote the growth or regeneration of the endocrine islet cells. Recent reports suggest that Reg2 is an autoantigen normally expressed in islet beta-cells. Reg2 overexpression in vitro offered protection to insulinoma cells. Overexpressed Reg3alpha increased cyclin D1 and CDK4 levels and the rate of proliferation in insulinoma cells. Acinar-specific overexpression of INGAP increased beta-cell mass and protected the animals from streptozotocin-induced diabetes. Moreover, Reg2 gene expression was induced during pancreatitis. We hypothesized that Reg2 is a secreted protein that promotes the growth, survival, and/or regeneration of pancreatic endocrine and exocrine cells. To test its effectiveness, we used elastase-1 promoter (Ela-Reg2) to develop an acinar cell-specific overexpression of the Reg2 gene. Western blot analysis, real-time PCR, and immunohistochemistry revealed barely detectable levels of endogenous Reg2 in the pancreas of normal wild-type mice and increased Reg2 levels in the pancreas of Ela-Reg2 mice that were similar to or higher than Reg2 levels induced in experimental diabetes or pancreatitis. Compared with wild-type littermates, growth, blood glucose and insulin levels, and glucose tolerance were normal in Ela-Reg2 mice; pancreatic histology revealed no change in endocrine or exocrine tissues. Acinar-specific overexpression of the Reg2 gene offered no protection against streptozotocin-induced beta-cell damage and diabetes, in hyperglycemia and weight loss, and no advantage in restoring glucose homeostasis and islet function within 3 mo. Furthermore, serum amylase level and pancreatic histochemistry showed that Reg2 overexpression did not protect acinar cells against caerulein-induced acute pancreatitis. In contrast to INGAP or Reg3beta, exocrine overexpression of Reg2 offered no protection to the endocrine or exocrine pancreas, indicating clear subtype specificities of the Reg family of proteins.

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