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J Clin Invest. 1995 Nov;96(5):2227-35.

Potent inhibitory effects of transplantable rat glucagonomas and insulinomas on the respective endogenous islet cells are associated with pancreatic apoptosis.

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Hagedorn Research Institute, Gentofte, Denmark.


Effects of transplantable rat insulinomas (IN) and glucagonomas (GLU) on the endogenous pancreas were analyzed using morphometry, immunocytochemistry, in situ hybridization, and staining for apoptotic cells. Hyperinsulinemia (IN-rats) and hyper-GLP-1/glucagonemia (GLU-rats) were both associated with marked islet atrophy (67 and 76% of control average planimetrical islet area, respectively). Selective islet B cell inhibition of proinsulin (I and II) genes as well as of expression of the insulin gene transcription factor, IPF1/STF1, was found in IN-rats. Moreover, these islets were characterized by significant B cells apoptosis in the absence of infiltrating lymphocytes. In GLU-rats selective islet A cell inhibition was observed at the level of glucagon mRNA. These islets contained small, highly condensed but clearly active B cells with prominent IPF1/STF1-positive nuclei, surrounded by densely packed glucagon-negative cells with reduced cytoplasm. Furthermore, an active apoptotic process was found exclusively in the exocrine pancreas of GLU-rats. Thus, in IN-rats, islet B cell mass reduction is distinguished by non-immune-mediated programmed cell death, while GLU-rats exhibit A cell mass reduction by cytoplasmic retraction and selective exocrine apoptosis.

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