Background. Type 2 diabetes, a chronic disease to which susceptibility is hereditary, is characterized by insulin resistance accompanied by defective insulin secretion. Mouse models, especially transgenic mice, play an important role in medical research. However, the transgenic mouse models that have been used in diabetes research are involved with single transgenes, focusing on the insulin gene or its mutants. Thus they mainly provide information related to Type 1 diabetes.
Methods. Here, we attempted to focus comprehensively on genes related to pancreatic islet damage, peripheral insulin resistance and related environmental inducing factors by generating single-transgenic mice (CHOP), dual-transgenic mice (hIAPP-CHOP) and triple-transgenic mice (11β-HSD1-hIAPP-CHOP). The latter two types of transgenic animals were induced with high-fat, high-sucrose diets (HFHSD). We evaluated and analyzed the diabetes-related symptoms and the histopathological and immunohistochemical features of the transgenic animals.
Results. Specifically, in the triple-transgene animals, the results of intraperitoneal glucose tolerance tests (IPGTT) began to change 60 days after induction (p<0.001). After 190 days of induction, the body weights (p<0.01) and plasma glucose levels of the animals in the Tg group were higher than those of the animals in the Nc group. After the mice were sacrificed, large amounts of lipid were found deposited in the adipose tissues (p<0.01) and ectopically deposited in the non-adipose tissues (p<0.05 or 0.01) of the animals in the Tg HFHSD group. The weights of the kidneys and hearts of the Tg animals were significantly increased (p<0.01). Serum C-P was decreased due to transgene effects, and insulin levels were increased due to the effects of the high-fat high-sucrose diet in the Tg HFHSD group, indicating that damaged insulin secretion and insulin resistance hyperinsulinemia existed simultaneously in these animals. The serum corticosterone levels of the animals in the Tg group were slightly higher than those of the Nc animals due to the effects of the 11βHSD-1 transgene and obesity. In the Tg HFHSD group, hepatic adipose deposition was more severe and the pancreatic islet area was enlarged under compensation, accompanying apoptosis. In the Tg ControlD group, hepatic adipose deposition was also severe, pancreatic islets were damaged, and their areas were decreased (p<0.05), and apoptosis of pancreatic cells occurred. Taken together, these data show that the transgenes led to early-stage pathological changes characteristic of type 2 diabetes in the triple-transgene HFHSD group. The disease of triple-transgenic mice was more severe than that of dual or single-transgenic mice.
Conclusion. The use of multi-transgenes involved in insulin resistance and pancreatic apoptosis is a better way to generate polygene-related early-stage diabetes models.