A better understanding of processes controlling the development and function of pancreatic islets is critical for diabetes prevention and treatment. Here, we reveal a previously unappreciated function for pancreatic β2-adrenergic receptors (Adrb2) in controlling glucose homeostasis by restricting islet vascular growth during development. Pancreas-specific deletion of Adrb2 results in glucose intolerance and impaired insulin secretion in mice, and unexpectedly, specifically in females. The metabolic phenotypes were recapitulated by Adrb2 deletion from neonatal, but not adult, b-cells. Mechanistically, Adrb2 loss increases production of Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor-A (VEGF-A) in female neonatal b-cells and results in hyper-vascularized islets during development, which in turn, disrupts insulin production and exocytosis. Neonatal correction of islet hyper-vascularization, via VEGF-A receptor blockade, fully rescues functional deficits in glucose homeostasis in adult mutant mice. These findings uncover a regulatory pathway that functions in a sex-specific manner to control glucose metabolism by restraining excessive vascular growth during islet development.
All data generated or analyzed are included in the manuscript and supporting files
- Rejji Kuruvilla
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
Animal experimentation: All procedures relating to animal care and treatment conformed to The Johns Hopkins University Animal Care and Use Committee (ACUC) and NIH guidelines. All of the animals were handled according to approved institutional ACUC protocols (#MO17A14) of Johns Hopkins University
- Lori Sussel, University of Colorado Denver, United States
© 2018, Ceasrine et al.
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.
The age and sex of studied animals profoundly impact experimental outcomes in biomedical research. However, most preclinical studies in mice use a wide-spanning age range from 4 to 20 weeks and do not assess male and female mice in parallel. This raises concerns regarding reproducibility and neglects potentially relevant age and sex differences, which are largely unknown at the molecular level in naïve mice. Here, we employed an optimized quantitative proteomics workflow in order to deeply profile mouse paw skin and sciatic nerves (SCN) – two tissues implicated in nociception and pain as well as diseases linked to inflammation, injury, and demyelination. Remarkably, we uncovered significant differences when comparing male and female mice at adolescent (4 weeks) and adult (14 weeks) age. Our analysis deciphered protein subsets and networks that were correlated with the age and/or sex of mice. Notably, among these were proteins/biological pathways with known (patho)physiological relevance, e.g., homeostasis and epidermal signaling in skin, and, in SCN, multiple myelin proteins and regulators of neuronal development. Extensive comparisons with available databases revealed that various proteins associated with distinct skin diseases and pain exhibited significant abundance changes in dependence on age and/or sex. Taken together, our study uncovers hitherto unknown sex and age differences at the level of proteins and protein networks. Overall, we provide a unique proteome resource that facilitates mechanistic insights into somatosensory and skin biology, and integrates age and sex as biological variables – a prerequisite for successful preclinical studies in mouse disease models.
Tissue-resident macrophages are essential to protect from pathogen invasion and maintain organ homeostasis. The ability of thymic macrophages to engulf apoptotic thymocytes is well appreciated, but little is known about their ontogeny, maintenance, and diversity. Here, we characterized the surface phenotype and transcriptional profile of these cells and defined their expression signature. Thymic macrophages were most closely related to spleen red pulp macrophages and Kupffer cells and shared the expression of the transcription factor SpiC with these cells. Single-cell RNA sequencing showed that the macrophages in the adult thymus are composed of two populations distinguished by the expression of Timd4 and Cx3cr1. Remarkably, Timd4+ cells were located in the cortex, while Cx3cr1+ macrophages were restricted to the medulla and the cortico-medullary junction. Using shield chimeras, transplantation of embryonic thymuses, and genetic fate mapping, we found that the two populations have distinct origins. Timd4+ thymic macrophages are of embryonic origin, while Cx3cr1+ macrophages are derived from adult hematopoietic stem cells. Aging has a profound effect on the macrophages in the thymus. Timd4+ cells underwent gradual attrition, while Cx3cr1+ cells slowly accumulated with age and, in older mice, were the dominant macrophage population in the thymus. Altogether, our work defines the phenotype, origin, and diversity of thymic macrophages.