Metformin, beta-cell development, and novel processes following beta-cell ablation in zebrafish

Georgia Wyett, Yann Gibert, Megan Ellis, Hozana A. Castillo, Jan Kaslin, Kathryn Aston-Mourney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Purpose: Type 1 and 2 diabetes are characterized by a loss of insulin-producing beta-cells. Current treatments help maintain blood glucose levels but cannot provide a cure. As such, a vital target for the cure of diabetes is a way to restore beta-cell mass. The drug metformin can protect cultured beta-cells/islets from hyperglycemia-induced dysfunction and death. Further, treatment of pregnant mice with metformin results in an enhanced beta-cell fraction in the embryos; however, whether this occurs via a direct effect is unknown. Methods: We utilized the external embryogenesis of the zebrafish to determine the direct effect of metformin treatment on the pancreas of the developing embryo and following beta-cell ablation. Results: During development metformin did not alter beta-cell or alpha-cell mass but had a small effect to increase delta-cell mass as measured by in situ hybridization. Further metformin significantly increased beta-cell number. Following beta-cell ablation, both glucagon and somatostatin expression were upregulated (>2-fold). Additionally, while metformin showed no effect to alter beta-cell mass or number, somatostatin expression was further increased (>5-fold). Conclusions: We showed that direct exposure to metformin during embryogenesis does not increase insulin-expressing area but does increase beta-cell number. Further, we identified novel consequences of beta-cell ablation to alter the expression of other pancreatic hormones that were enhanced by metformin. Therefore, this study provides a greater understanding of the beta-cell development/regenerative processes and the effect of metformin, bringing us closer to identifying how to increase beta-cells in humans.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)419-425
Number of pages7
JournalEndocrine
Volume59
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2018

Keywords

  • Beta-cell
  • Development
  • Diabetes
  • Metformin
  • Regeneration
  • Zebrafish

Cite this

Wyett, Georgia ; Gibert, Yann ; Ellis, Megan ; Castillo, Hozana A. ; Kaslin, Jan ; Aston-Mourney, Kathryn. / Metformin, beta-cell development, and novel processes following beta-cell ablation in zebrafish. In: Endocrine. 2018 ; Vol. 59, No. 2. pp. 419-425.
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Metformin, beta-cell development, and novel processes following beta-cell ablation in zebrafish. / Wyett, Georgia; Gibert, Yann; Ellis, Megan; Castillo, Hozana A.; Kaslin, Jan; Aston-Mourney, Kathryn.

In: Endocrine, Vol. 59, No. 2, 01.02.2018, p. 419-425.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

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T1 - Metformin, beta-cell development, and novel processes following beta-cell ablation in zebrafish

AU - Wyett, Georgia

AU - Gibert, Yann

AU - Ellis, Megan

AU - Castillo, Hozana A.

AU - Kaslin, Jan

AU - Aston-Mourney, Kathryn

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N2 - Purpose: Type 1 and 2 diabetes are characterized by a loss of insulin-producing beta-cells. Current treatments help maintain blood glucose levels but cannot provide a cure. As such, a vital target for the cure of diabetes is a way to restore beta-cell mass. The drug metformin can protect cultured beta-cells/islets from hyperglycemia-induced dysfunction and death. Further, treatment of pregnant mice with metformin results in an enhanced beta-cell fraction in the embryos; however, whether this occurs via a direct effect is unknown. Methods: We utilized the external embryogenesis of the zebrafish to determine the direct effect of metformin treatment on the pancreas of the developing embryo and following beta-cell ablation. Results: During development metformin did not alter beta-cell or alpha-cell mass but had a small effect to increase delta-cell mass as measured by in situ hybridization. Further metformin significantly increased beta-cell number. Following beta-cell ablation, both glucagon and somatostatin expression were upregulated (>2-fold). Additionally, while metformin showed no effect to alter beta-cell mass or number, somatostatin expression was further increased (>5-fold). Conclusions: We showed that direct exposure to metformin during embryogenesis does not increase insulin-expressing area but does increase beta-cell number. Further, we identified novel consequences of beta-cell ablation to alter the expression of other pancreatic hormones that were enhanced by metformin. Therefore, this study provides a greater understanding of the beta-cell development/regenerative processes and the effect of metformin, bringing us closer to identifying how to increase beta-cells in humans.

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