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Sex differences in the development of diabetes in mice with deleted wolframin (Wfs1) gene

Noormets, K., Kõks, S., Muldmaa, M., Mauring, L., Vasar, E. and Tillmann, V. (2010) Sex differences in the development of diabetes in mice with deleted wolframin (Wfs1) gene. Experimental and Clinical Endocrinology & Diabetes, 119 (5). pp. 271-275.

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Wolfram syndrome, caused by mutations in the wolframin (Wfs1) gene, is characterised by juvenile-onset diabetes mellitus, progressive optic atrophy, diabetes insipidus and deafness. Diabetes tend to start earlier in boys. This study investigated sex differences in longitudinal changes in blood glucose concentration (BGC) in wolframin-deficient mice (Wfs1KO) and compared their plasma proinsulin and insulin levels with those of wild-type (wt) mice. Non-fasting BGC was measured weekly in 42 (21 males) mice from both groups at nine weeks of age. An intraperitoneal glucose tolerance test (IPGTT) was conducted at the 30th week and plasma insulin, c-peptide and proinsulin levels were measured at the 32nd week. At the 32nd week, Wfs1KO males had increased BGC compared to wt males (9.40±0.60 mmol/l vs. 7.91±0.20 mmol/l; p<0.05). The opposite tendency was seen in females. Both male and female Wfs1KO mice had impaired glucose tolerance on IPGTT. Wfs1KO males had significantly lower mean plasma insulin levels than wt males (57.78±1.80 ng/ml vs. 69.42±3.06 ng/ml; p<0.01) and Wfs1KO females (70.30±4.42 ng/ml; p<0.05). Wfs1KO males had a higher proinsulin/insulin ratio than wt males (0.09±0.02 vs. 0.05±0.01; p=0.05) and Wfs1KO females (0.04±0.01; p<0.05). Plasma c-peptide levels in males were lower in Wfs1KO males (mean 55.3±14.0 pg/ml vs. 112.7±21.9 pg/ml; p<0.05). Male Wfs1KO mice had a greater risk of developing diabetes than female Wfs1KO mice. Low plasma insulin concentration with an increased proinsulin/insulin ratio in Wfs1KO males indicates possible disturbances in converting proinsulin to insulin which in long-term may lead to insulin deficiency. Further investigation is needed to clarify the mechanism for the sex differences in the development of diabetes in Wolfram syndrome.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publisher: Thieme Publishing
Copyright: © 2011 J. A. Barth Verlag in Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart
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