Drott CJ, Olerud J, Emanuelsson H, Christoffersson G, Carlsson PO
PLoS ONE 7 (10) e47451 [2012-10-19; online 2012-10-19]
Pancreatic islet endothelial cells have in recent years been shown to support beta-cell mass and function by paracrine interactions. Recently, we identified an islets endothelial-specific glycoprotein, thrombospondin-1 (TSP-1), that showed to be of importance for islet angiogenesis and beta-cell function in young mice. The present study aimed to investigate long-term consequences for islet morphology and beta-cell function of TSP-1 deficiency. Islet and beta-cell mass were observed increased at 10-12 weeks of age in TSP-1 deficient mice, but were normalized before 16 weeks of age when compared to wild-type controls. Islet vascularity was normal in 10-12 and 16-week-old TSP-1 deficient animals, whereas islets of one-year-old animals lacking TSP-1 were hypervascular. Beta-cell dysfunction in TSP-1 deficient animals was present at similar magnitudes between 10-12 and 52 weeks of age, as evaluated by glucose tolerance tests. The insulin secretion capacity in vivo of islets in one-year-old TSP-1 deficient animals was only ∼15% of that in wild-type animals. Using a transplantation model, we reconstituted TSP-1 in adult TSP-deficient islets. In contrast to neonatal TSP-1 deficient islets that we previously reported to regain function after TSP-1 reconstitution, adult islets failed to recover. We conclude that TSP-1 deficiency in islets causes changing vascular and endocrine morphological alterations postnatally, but is coupled to a chronic beta-cell dysfunction. The beta-cell dysfunction induced by TSP-1 deficiency is irreversible if not substituted early in life.