Mouse Insulin Cells expressing an Inducible RIPCre Transgene are Functionally Impaired [Developmental Biology]

December 22nd, 2014 by Teitelman, G., Kedees, M.

We used cre-lox technology to test whether the inducible expression of Cre minimize the deleterious effect of the enzyme on beta cell function. We studied mice in which Cre is linked to a modified estrogen receptor (ER) and its expression is controlled by the rat insulin promoter (RIP). Following the injection of Tamoxifen (TM), CreER- migrates to the nucleus and promotes the appearance of a reporter protein, enhanced yellow fluorescent protein (EYFP), in cells. Immunocytochemical analysis indicated that 46.6 % insulin cells of adult RIPCreER- EYFP expressed EYFP. RIPCreER-EYFP (+TM) mice were normoglycemic throughout the study and their glucose tolerance test results were similar to control CD-1 mice. However, an extended exposure to reagents that stimulate insulin synthesis was detrimental to the survival of IN+EYFP+cells. The administration of an inhibitor of the enzyme dipeptidyl-peptidase (DPP4i), which prevents the cleavage of glucagon-like peptide (GLP-1), to adult RIPCreER-EYFP mice lead to a decrease in the percentage of IN+EYFP+ to 17.5% and a significant increase in apoptotic cells in islets. Similarly, a two week administration of the GLP-1 analog exendin 4 (ex-4) induced an almost complete ablation of IN+ expressing a different reporter protein and a significant decrease in the beta cell mass and rate of beta cell proliferation. Since normal beta cells do not die when induced to increase insulin synthesis, our observations indicate that insulin cells expressing an inducible RIPCre transgene are functionally deficient. Studies employing these mice should carefully consider the pitfalls of the Cre-Lox technique.