Cyclin D2 Is Essential for the Compensatory β-Cell Hyperplastic Response to Insulin Resistance in Rodents

  1. Rohit N. Kulkarni2
  1. 1Larry Hillblom Islet Research Center, University of California, Los Angeles, David Geffen School of Medicine, Los Angeles, California;
  2. 2Joslin Diabetes Center and Department of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts.
  1. Corresponding author: Rohit N. Kulkarni, rohit.kulkarni{at}, or Anil Bhushan, abhushan{at}
  1. S.G. and C.H. contributed equally to this study.


OBJECTIVE A major determinant of the progression from insulin resistance to the development of overt type 2 diabetes is a failure to mount an appropriate compensatory β-cell hyperplastic response to maintain normoglycemia. We undertook the present study to directly explore the significance of the cell cycle protein cyclin D2 in the expansion of β-cell mass in two different models of insulin resistance.

RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS We created compound knockouts by crossing mice deficient in cyclin D2 (D2KO) with either the insulin receptor substrate 1 knockout (IRS1KO) mice or the insulin receptor liver-specific knockout mice (LIRKO), neither of which develops overt diabetes on its own because of robust compensatory β-cell hyperplasia. We phenotyped the double knockouts and used RT-qPCR and immunohistochemistry to examine β-cell mass.

RESULTS Both compound knockouts, D2KO/LIRKO and D2KO/IRS1KO, exhibited insulin resistance and hyperinsulinemia and an absence of compensatory β-cell hyperplasia. However, the diabetic D2KO/LIRKO group rapidly succumbed early compared with a relatively normal lifespan in the glucose-intolerant D2KO/IRS1KO mice.

CONCLUSIONS This study provides direct genetic evidence that cyclin D2 is essential for the expansion of β-cell mass in response to a spectrum of insulin resistance and points to the cell-cycle protein as a potential therapeutic target that can be harnessed for preventing and curing type 2 diabetes.


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    • Received June 3, 2009.
    • Accepted January 7, 2010.

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