Indexed on: 08 Nov '14Published on: 08 Nov '14Published in: Diabetes
Protein expression of an antiaging gene, Klotho, was depleted in pancreatic islets in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) and in db/db mice, an animal model of T2DM. The objective of this study was to investigate whether in vivo expression of Klotho would preserve pancreatic β-cell function in db/db mice. We report for the first time that β-cell-specific expression of Klotho attenuated the development of diabetes in db/db mice. β-Cell-specific expression of Klotho decreased hyperglycemia and enhanced glucose tolerance. The beneficial effects of Klotho were associated with significant improvements in T2DM-induced decreases in number of β-cells, insulin storage levels in pancreatic islets, and glucose-stimulated insulin secretion from pancreatic islets, which led to increased blood insulin levels in diabetic mice. In addition, β-cell-specific expression of Klotho decreased intracellular superoxide levels, oxidative damage, apoptosis, and DNAJC3 (a marker for endoplasmic reticulum stress) in pancreatic islets. Furthermore, β-cell-specific expression of Klotho increased expression levels of Pdx-1 (insulin transcription factor), PCNA (a marker of cell proliferation), and LC3 (a marker of autophagy) in pancreatic islets in db/db mice. These results reveal that β-cell-specific expression of Klotho improves β-cell function and attenuates the development of T2DM. Therefore, in vivo expression of Klotho may offer a novel strategy for protecting β-cells in T2DM.