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Sci Rep. 2020 Jan 22;10(1):923. doi: 10.1038/s41598-020-57599-2.

VEGF-B ablation in pancreatic β-cells upregulates insulin expression without affecting glucose homeostasis or islet lipid uptake.

Author information

1
Division of Vascular Biology, Department of Medical Biochemistry and Biophysics, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, 171 65, Sweden.
2
Division of Vascular Biology, Department of Medical Biochemistry and Biophysics, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, 171 65, Sweden. daniel.nyqvist@ki.se.

Abstract

Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) affects millions of people and is linked with obesity and lipid accumulation in peripheral tissues. Increased lipid handling and lipotoxicity in insulin producing β-cells may contribute to β-cell dysfunction in T2DM. The vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)-B regulates uptake and transcytosis of long-chain fatty acids over the endothelium to tissues such as heart and skeletal muscle. Systemic inhibition of VEGF-B signaling prevents tissue lipid accumulation, improves insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance, as well as reduces pancreatic islet triglyceride content, under T2DM conditions. To date, the role of local VEGF-B signaling in pancreatic islet physiology and in the regulation of fatty acid trans-endothelial transport in pancreatic islet is unknown. To address these questions, we have generated a mouse strain where VEGF-B is selectively depleted in β-cells, and assessed glucose homeostasis, β-cell function and islet lipid content under both normal and high-fat diet feeding conditions. We found that Vegfb was ubiquitously expressed throughout the pancreas, and that β-cell Vegfb deletion resulted in increased insulin gene expression. However, glucose homeostasis and islet lipid uptake remained unaffected by β-cell VEGF-B deficiency.

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