mTOR Inhibition: Reduced Insulin Secretion and Sensitivity in a Rat Model of Metabolic Syndrome

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Abstract

Background

Sirolimus (SRL) has been associated with new-onset diabetes mellitus after transplantation. The aim was to determine the effect of SRL on development of insulin resistance and β-cell toxicity.

Methods

Lean Zucker rat (LZR) and obese Zucker rat (OZR) were distributed into groups: vehicle and SRL (0.25, 0.5, or 1.0 mg/kg) during 12 or 28 days. Intraperitoneal glucose tolerance test (IPGTT) was evaluated at days 0, 12, 28, and 45. Islet morphometry, β-cell proliferation, and apoptosis were analyzed at 12 days. Islets were isolated to analyze insulin content, insulin secretion, and gene expression.

Results

After 12 days, SRL treatment only impaired IPGTT in a dose-dependent manner in OZR. Treatment prolongation induced increase of area under the curve of IPGTT in LZR and OZR; however, in contrast to OZR, LZR normalized glucose levels after 2 hours. The SRL reduced pancreas weight and islet proliferation in LZR and OZR as well as insulin content. Insulin secretion was only affected in OZR. Islets from OZR + SRL rats presented a downregulation of Neurod1, Pax4, and Ins2 gene. Genes related with insulin secretion remained unchanged or upregulated.

Conclusions

In conditions that require adaptive β-cell proliferation, SRL might reveal harmful effects by blocking β-cell proliferation, insulin production and secretion. These effects disappeared when removing the therapy.

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