Stimulation of pancreatic islet beta-cell replication by oncogenes.

M. Welsh, N. Welsh, T. Nilsson, P. Arkhammar, R. B. Pepinsky, D. F. Steiner, P. O. Berggren

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Although the growth potential of the pancreatic islet beta cells is limited, glucose, cAMP, and certain polypeptide growth factors have been reported by other workers to exert modest stimulatory effects on beta-cell replication. To further assess means through which beta-cell growth can be stimulated, selected oncogene constructs linked to a rat insulin promoter were introduced by means of electroporation into free islet cells prepared from fetal rats and adult hyperglycemic obese (ob/ob) mice. The uptake and expression of the added oncogenes were sufficiently efficient to exert effects on beta-cell physiology in short-term experiments (less than or equal to 4 days). Stimulation of islet cell [3H]thymidine incorporation was observed after transfection with src alone or the combination of myc and ras. The effect observed in the fetal islet cells with src was more pronounced than any effect previously reported. Transfection with the src oncogene resulted in phosphorylation of lipocortin I and was paralleled by an increased immunofluorescence against src-like immunoreactivity in a majority of the electroporated cells. It is concluded that electroporation can induce sufficiently efficient expression of added oncogene constructs to study their effects on cells that are not readily transformable into continuously growing cell lines. Furthermore, the results suggest that beta-cell replication might be manipulated extrinsically by inserting appropriate growth-promoting genes into these cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)116-120
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1988
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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