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Biochem Mol Biol Int. 1996 Aug;39(6):1229-36.

Streptozotocin at low doses induces apoptosis and at high doses causes necrosis in a murine pancreatic beta cell line, INS-1.

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Department of Diabetes and Endocrinology, Princess Alexandra Hospital, Woolloongabba, Qld, Australia.


The ability of beta cells to endure assaults by various environmental agents, including toxins and viruses, may be relevant to the development of diabetes. We have examined the mode of cell death caused by streptozotocin (STZ) in a murine pancreatic beta cell line, INS-1. Apoptosis was identified by detection of initial endonuclease-mediated DNA strand breaks by DNA gel electrophoresis. Apoptosis and necrosis were distinguished morphologically by light and electron microscopy. Higher rates of apoptosis, as compared to necrosis, were observed when cells were exposed to 15 mM STZ for 1 hr followed by a 24 hrs recovery period. Higher doses of STZ (30 mM) caused the cells to undergo necrosis (22%) as well as apoptosis (17%). These results suggest that the cytotoxic effect of STZ, at low doses, on beta cells involves the activation of the apoptotic pathway, whereas, at high doses, the mode of beta cell death is predominantly necrosis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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