Adult-onset deletion of Pten increases islet mass and beta cell proliferation in mice.
In this manuscript, we tested whether manipulating the beta cells growth signal (i.e. PTEN) is capable of reversing the aging of beta cells. Beta-cells located in the pancreas produces insulin and is critical for the maintaining blood levels of glucose in healthy individuals. Using mouse as a model, we have found that the size of the islets which are formed by beta-cells and their ability to produce insulin are dependent on PTEN. In this manuscript, we showed that removing the PTEN signal in adult beta-cells is also capable of affecting the size of islets and their production of insulin.
AIMS/HYPOTHESIS: Adult beta cells have a diminished ability to proliferate. Phosphatase and tensin homologue (PTEN) is a lipid phosphatase that antagonises the function of the mitogenic phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) pathway. The objective of this study was to understand the role of PTEN and PI3K signalling in the maintenance of beta cells postnatally. METHODS: We developed a Pten (lox/lox); Rosa26 (lacZ); RIP-CreER (+) model that permitted us to induce Pten deletion by treatment with tamoxifen in mature animals. We evaluated islet mass and function as well as beta cell proliferation in 3- and 12-month-old mice treated with tamoxifen (Pten deleted) vs mice treated with vehicle (Pten control). RESULTS: Deletion of Pten in juvenile (3-month-old) beta cells significantly induced their proliferation and increased islet mass. The expansion of islet mass occurred concomitantly with the enhanced ability of the Pten-deleted mice to maintain euglycaemia in response to streptozotocin treatment. In older mice (>12 months of age), deletion of Pten similarly increased islet mass and beta cell proliferation. This novel finding suggests that PTEN-regulated mechanisms may override the age-onset diminished ability of beta cells to respond to mitogenic stimulation. We also found that proteins regulating G1/S cell-cycle transition, such as cyclin D1, cyclin D2, p27 and p16, were altered when PTEN was lost, suggesting that they may play a role in PTEN/PI3K-regulated beta cell proliferation in adult tissue. CONCLUSIONS/INTERPRETATION: The signals regulated by the PTEN/PI3K pathway are important for postnatal maintenance of beta cells and regulation of their proliferation in adult tissues.