Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Pyruvate oxidation is critical determinant of pancreatic islet number and β-cell mass


Researchers at the University at Buffalo, led by Dr. Mulchand Patel and also at Lawson Health Research Institute and Western Ontario, London, Canada, led by Dr. David Hill, collaboratively evaluated the role of the mitochondrial multienzyme pyruvate dehydrogenase complex in the regulation of pancreatic β-cell development and maturation in the immediate postnatal period in mice.

This study, reported in the August 2014 issue of Experimental Biology and Medicine, demonstrated that the pyruvate dehydrogenase complex is not only required for insulin gene expression and glucose-stimulated insulin secretion, but also directly influences β-cell growth and maturity. This places glucose metabolism as a direct regulator of β-cell mass and plasticity.

Glucose metabolism within the pancreatic β-cells is crucial for insulin gene expression and hormone exocytosis, but there is increasing evidence that glucose metabolic pathways are also important for β-cell development and the maintenance of β-cell mass in adult life.

A targeted deletion of glucokinase in mouse β-cells not only prevents glucose-stimulated insulin secretion, but also β-cell proliferation and is associated with increased apoptosis. A direct manipulation of glucose availability to the embryonic pancreas in tissue culture showed that it was necessary for both α- and β-cell development through the regulation of the transcription factors Neurogenin 3 (Neurog3) and NeuroD.

In the article by Patel et al., the authors show that a targeted β-cell deletion of the α subunit of the pyruvate dehydrogenase component, a major rate-limiting enzyme for the pyruvate dehydrogenase complex that regulates pyruvate metabolism from glucose in the mitochondria, in mouse resulted in reduced insulin availability and glucose-sensitive release as would be expected.

But they also demonstrate that β-cell number was reduced postnatally as was the expression of Neurog3, NeuroD and Pdx1. Interestingly, there was also a reduction in the numbers of insulin-immunopositive, extra-islet small endocrine cell clusters, a possible source of new β-cells from progenitors.

The new findings reinforce the concept that pathways controlling glucose metabolism in β-cells are as important for maintenance of β-cell mass as are hormones and growth factors, such as glucagon-like polypeptide 1 (GLP1).

"These findings show that glucose metabolism is a major regulator of β-cell mass which is likely to act independently of other signaling pathways, such as insulin receptor substrate 2", said Dr. Mulchand Patel, senior author of the study and SUNY Distinguished Professor, Department of Biochemistry, School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, University at Buffalo, the State University of New York.

Dr. Steven R. Goodman, Editor-in-Chief of Experimental Biology and Medicine, said "the study by Patel et al utilizes a mouse knockout model to disrupt the pyruvate dehydrogenase complex (PDC) activity to study the role of PDC in pancreatic β-cell development. They demonstrate that PDC has a direct impact upon the regulation of β-cell mass as well as plasticity."


Experimental Biology and Medicine is a journal dedicated to the publication of multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary research in the biomedical sciences. The journal was first established in 1903. Experimental Biology and Medicine is the journal of the Society of Experimental Biology and Medicine. To learn about the benefits of society membership visit If you are interested in publishing in the journal please visit

M.S. Patel | Eurek Alert!

Further reports about: Biology Medicine SUNY dehydrogenase islet metabolism pancreatic pathways plasticity

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Molecular trigger for Cerebral Cavernous Malformation identified
26.11.2015 | EMBO - excellence in life sciences

nachricht Peering into cell structures where neurodiseases emerge
26.11.2015 | University of Delaware

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Climate study finds evidence of global shift in the 1980s

Planet Earth experienced a global climate shift in the late 1980s on an unprecedented scale, fuelled by anthropogenic warming and a volcanic eruption, according to new research published this week.

Scientists say that a major step change, or ‘regime shift’, in the Earth’s biophysical systems, from the upper atmosphere to the depths of the ocean and from...

Im Focus: Innovative Photovoltaics – from the Lab to the Façade

Fraunhofer ISE Demonstrates New Cell and Module Technologies on its Outer Building Façade

The Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE has installed 70 photovoltaic modules on the outer façade of one of its lab buildings. The modules were...

Im Focus: Lactate for Brain Energy

Nerve cells cover their high energy demand with glucose and lactate. Scientists of the University of Zurich now provide new support for this. They show for the first time in the intact mouse brain evidence for an exchange of lactate between different brain cells. With this study they were able to confirm a 20-year old hypothesis.

In comparison to other organs, the human brain has the highest energy requirements. The supply of energy for nerve cells and the particular role of lactic acid...

Im Focus: Laser process simulation available as app for first time

In laser material processing, the simulation of processes has made great strides over the past few years. Today, the software can predict relatively well what will happen on the workpiece. Unfortunately, it is also highly complex and requires a lot of computing time. Thanks to clever simplification, experts from Fraunhofer ILT are now able to offer the first-ever simulation software that calculates processes in real time and also runs on tablet computers and smartphones. The fast software enables users to do without expensive experiments and to find optimum process parameters even more effectively.

Before now, the reliable simulation of laser processes was a job for experts. Armed with sophisticated software packages and after many hours on computer...

Im Focus: Quantum Simulation: A Better Understanding of Magnetism

Heidelberg physicists use ultracold atoms to imitate the behaviour of electrons in a solid

Researchers at Heidelberg University have devised a new way to study the phenomenon of magnetism. Using ultracold atoms at near absolute zero, they prepared a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

Fraunhofer’s Urban Futures Conference: 2 days in the city of the future

25.11.2015 | Event News

Gluten oder nicht Gluten? Überempfindlichkeit auf Weizen kann unterschiedliche Ursachen haben

17.11.2015 | Event News

Art Collection Deutsche Börse zeigt Ausstellung „Traces of Disorder“

21.10.2015 | Event News

Latest News

Using sphere packing models to explain the structure of forests

26.11.2015 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

Dimensionality transition in a newly created material

26.11.2015 | Materials Sciences

Revealing glacier flow with animated satellite images

26.11.2015 | Earth Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>