OBJECTIVE-Diabetes results from a deficiency of functional β-cells due to both an increase in β-cell death and an inhibition of β-cell replication. The molecular mechanisms responsible for these effects in susceptible individuals are mostly unknown. The objective of this study was to determine whether a gene critical for cell division and cell survival in cancer cells, survivin, might also be important for β-cells. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS-We generated mice harboring a conditional deletion of survivin in pancreatic endocrine cells using mice with a Pαx-6-Cre transgene promoter construct driving tissue-specific expression of Cre-recombinase in these cells. We performed metabolic studies and immuno-histochemical analyses to determine the effects of a mono-and biallelic deletion of survivin. RESULTS-Selective deletion of survivin in pancreatic endocrine cells in the mouse had no discernible effects during embryogenesis but was associated with striking decreases in β-cell number after birth, leading to hyperglycemia and early - onset diabetes by 4 weeks of age. Serum insulin levels were significantly decreased in animals lacking endocrine cell survivin, with relative stability of other hormones. Exogenous expression of survivin in mature β-cells lacking endogenous survivin completely rescued the hyperglycemic phenotype and the decrease in β-cell mass, confirming the specificity of the survivin effect in these cells. CONCLUSIONS-Our findings implicate survivin in the maintenance of β-cell mass through both replication and antiapoptotic mechanisms. Given the widespread involvement of survivin in cancer, a novel role for survivin may well be exploited in β-cell regulation in diseased states, such as diabetes.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Internal Medicine
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism