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PeerJ. 2018 Apr 17;6:e4542. doi: 10.7717/peerj.4542. eCollection 2018.

Kill two birds with one stone: making multi-transgenic pre-diabetes mouse models through insulin resistance and pancreatic apoptosis pathogenesis.

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State Key Laboratory of Animal Nutrition & Key Laboratory of Farm Animal Genetic Resource and Germplasm Innovation of Ministry of Agriculture, Institute of Animal Sciences, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Beijing, Beijing, China.
Agricultural Genomics Institute at Shenzhen, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Shenzhen, Guangdong, China.
Contributed equally



Type 2 diabetes is characterized by insulin resistance accompanied by defective insulin secretion. Transgenic mouse models play an important role in medical research. However, single transgenic mouse models may not mimic the complex phenotypes of most cases of type 2 diabetes.


Focusing on genes related to pancreatic islet damage, peripheral insulin resistance and related environmental inducing factors, we generated single-transgenic (C/EBP homology protein, CHOP) mice (CHOP mice), dual-transgenic (human islet amyloid polypeptide, hIAPP; CHOP) mice (hIAPP-CHOP mice) and triple-transgenic (11β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 1, 11β-HSD1; hIAPP; CHOP) mice (11β-HSD1-hIAPP- CHOP mice). The latter two types of transgenic (Tg) animals were induced with high-fat high-sucrose diets (HFHSD). We analyzed the diabetes-related symptoms and histology features of the transgenic animals.


Comparing symptoms on the spot-checked points, we determined that the triple-transgene mice were more suitable for systematic study. The results of intraperitoneal glucose tolerance tests (IPGTT) of triple-transgene animals began to change 60 days after induction (p < 0.001). After 190 days of induction, the body weights (p < 0.01) and plasma glucose of the animals in Tg were higher than those of the animals in Negative Control (Nc). After sacrificed, large amounts of lipid were found deposited in adipose (p < 0.01) and ectopically deposited in the non-adipose tissues (p < 0.05 or 0.01) of the animals in the Tg HFHSD group. The weights of kidneys and hearts of Tg animals were significantly increased (p < 0.01). Serum C peptide (C-P) was decreased due to Tg effects, and insulin levels were increased due to the effects of the HFHSD in the Tg HFHSD group, indicating that damaged insulin secretion and insulin resistance hyperinsulinemia existed simultaneously in these animals. The serum corticosterone of Tg was slightly higher than those of Nc due to the effects of the 11βHSD-1 transgene and obesity. In Tg HFHSD, hepatic adipose deposition was more severe and the pancreatic islet area was enlarged under compensation, accompanying apoptosis. In the transgenic control diet (Tg ControlD) group, hepatic adipose deposition was also severe, pancreatic islets were damaged, and their areas were decreased (p < 0.05), and apoptosis of pancreatic cells occurred. Taken together, these data show the transgenes led to early-stage pathological changes characteristic of type 2 diabetes in the triple-transgene HFHSD group. The disease of triple-transgenic mice was more severe than that of dual or single-transgenic mice.


The use of multi-transgenes involved in insulin resistance and pancreatic apoptosis is a better way to generate polygene-related early-stage diabetes models.


11βHSD-1; CHOP; Experiment animal disease model; Muti-transgenic mice; hIAPP

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