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Transgenic Res. 2012 Aug;21(4):843-53. doi: 10.1007/s11248-011-9579-6. Epub 2011 Dec 18.

Altered glucose-stimulated insulin secretion in a mouse line with activated polyamine catabolism.

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Biotechnology and Molecular Medicine, A.I. Virtanen Institute, Biocenter Kuopio, University of Eastern Finland, Kuopio Campus, P.O.Box 1627, 70211 Kuopio, Finland.


Ubiquitous activation of polyamine catabolism has been demonstrated to have protective effects in mice on fat accumulation and insulin sensitivity/glucose tolerance in, both, normal conditions and after a high fat diet. We have analyzed the endocrine pancreas functionality in four months-old male mice overexpressing the rate limiting enzyme in the polyamine catabolism, spermidine/spermine N¹-acetyltransferase (SSAT). The pancreatic SSAT activity was 37-fold elevated in the transgenic mice, which reduced the total pancreatic and islet pools of spermidine (71%) and spermine (69%), and increased putrescine and N¹-acetyl spermidine. Reduction in the islet ATP levels (65%) was accompanied with increased transcription of 5'-AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) (1.5-fold) and Foxa2 (2.7-fold), and reduced HNF4α (67%) and HNF1α (92%), insulin 1 (47%), insulin 2 (50%), and Glut2 (57%). Moreover, the SSAT transgenic mice also presented increased beta cell area, decreased insulin production, and altered glucose-stimulated insulin secretion. It has been hypothesized that the acute activation of the polyamine catabolism produces a futile cycle that greatly decreases the energy reserves of the cell. The lower energy status would activate the energy expenditure regulator, AMPK, which would consequently repress the PI3K/Akt pathway, and activate the transcription factor Foxa2.

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