The frequency of pancreatic β-cell replication declines dramatically with age, potentially contributing to the increased risk of type 2 diabetes in old age. Previous studies have shown the involvement of cell-autonomous factors in this phenomenon, particularly the decline of polycomb genes and accumulation of p16/INK4A. Here, we demonstrate that a systemic factor found in the circulation of young mice is able to increase the proliferation rate of old pancreatic β-cells. Old mice parabiosed to young mice have increased β-cell replication compared with unjoined old mice or old mice parabiosed to old mice. In addition, we demonstrate that old β-cells transplanted into young recipients have increased replication rate compared with cells transplanted into old recipients; conversely, young β-cells transplanted into old mice decrease their replication rate compared with young cells transplanted into young recipients. The expression of p16/INK4A mRNA did not change in heterochronic parabiosis, suggesting the involvement of other pathways. We conclude that systemic factors contribute to the replicative decline of old pancreatic β-cells.
This article contains Supplementary Data online at http://diabetes.diabetesjournals.org/lookup/suppl/doi:10.2337/db13-0160/-/DC1.
- Received February 1, 2013.
- Accepted April 22, 2013.
- © 2013 by the American Diabetes Association.
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