IUBMB life

Biphasic decline of β-cell function with age in euglycemic nonobese diabetic mice parallels diabetes onset.

PMID 26099053


A gradual decline in insulin response is known to precede the onset of type 1 diabetes (T1D). To track age-related changes in the β-cell function of nonobese diabetic (NOD) mice, the most commonly used animal model for T1D, and to establish differences between those who do and do not become hyperglycemic, we performed a long-term longitudinal oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) study (10-42 weeks) in combination with immunofluorescence imaging of islet morphology and cell proliferation. We observed a clear biphasic decline in insulin secretion (AUC0-30 min ) even in euglycemic animals. A first phase (10-28 weeks) consisted of a relatively rapid decline and paralleled diabetes development in the same cohort of animals. This was followed by a second phase (29-42 weeks) during which insulin secretion declined much slower while no additional animals became diabetic. Blood glucose profiles showed a corresponding, but less pronounced change: the area under the concentration curve (AUC0-150 min ) increased with age, and fit with a bilinear model indicated a rate-change in the trendline around 28 weeks. In control NOD scids, no such changes were observed. Islet morphology also changed with age as islets become surrounded by mononuclear infiltrates, and, in all mice, islets with immune cell infiltration around them showed increased β-cell proliferation. In conclusion, insulin secretion declines in a biphasic manner in all NOD mice. This trend, as well as increased β-cell proliferation, is present even in the NODs that never become diabetic, whereas, it is absent in control NOD scid mice.