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Endocrinology. 1997 Sep;138(9):3967-75.

Role of prepancreatic (pro)insulin and the insulin receptor in prevention of embryonic apoptosis.

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Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, Centro de Investigaciones Biológicas, CSIC, Madrid, Spain.


The characterization of (pro)insulin as an early embryonic growth factor requires demonstration of its expression and cellular effects in vivo. By in situ hybridization, we found widespread preproinsulin transcripts in the chick embryo throughout gastrulation and neurulation, before the beginning of preproinsulin-like growth factor I expression and pancreatic organogenesis. To analyze the prepancreatic (pro)insulin effect on apoptotic cell death, we treated embryos with antisense oligodeoxynucleotides in ovo and in vitro. The specific effect of two preproinsulin messenger RNA (mRNA) antisense oligodeoxynucleotides was confirmed by the decrease in a biosynthetically labeled protein immunoprecipitated with antiinsulin Igs. Insulin receptor mRNA antisense oligodeoxynucleotide applied in ovo increased by 2.7-fold the level of apoptosis in the 1.5-day embryo (neurulation) compared with that in its random sequence control. In a whole embryo culture, apoptosis increased by 25-35% with the addition of preproinsulin or insulin receptor mRNAs antisense oligodeoxynucleotides, respectively, whereas it decreased by 64% after 10 h in the presence of 10(-8) M chicken insulin. Exogenous insulin also rescued the death induced by preproinsulin antisense oligonucleotides. These findings provide evidence for an autocrine/paracrine role ofpreproinsulin gene products acting through the insulin receptor in the control of cell survival/death during early embryonic development.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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