Pro Islet Amyloid Polypeptide (ProIAPP) Immunoreactivity in the Islets of Langerhans

  • Gunilla T. Westermark
  • Donald F. Steiner
  • Samuel Gebre-Medhin
  • Ulla Engström
  • Per Westermark


Islet amyloid is typically found in type 2 diabetes mellitus and is believed to participate in the beta cell deterioration. The islet amyloid fibril consists of the 37-amino-acid islet amyloid polypeptide (IAPP) but its pathogenesis is only partly understood. We developed several different rabbit antisera against the flanking peptides of the IAPP precursor (proIAPP) and the proIAPP processing sites in order to study the possible occurrence of unprocessed proIAPP or parts thereof in islet amyloid. We applied these antisera in an immunohistochemical study on islet amyloid deposits present in a newly generated mouse strain that over-expresses human IAPP but is devoid of mouse IAPP. Male mice of this strain develop severe islet amyloidosis when given a high fat diet. Generally, the antisera showed no immunoreactivity with the amyloid. However, in scattered single beta cells, where amyloid could be seen intracellularly, immunoreactivity with one or more of the antisera co-localized with the amyloid. Although virtually all amyloid in human islets of Langerhans is found extracellularly, we propose that the initial amyloid formation occurs intracellularly, perhaps by not fully processed or folded (pro)IAPP. This amyloid, which may develop rapidly under certain circumstances, probably leads to cell death. If not degraded these amyloid spots may then act as nidus for further amyloid formation from fully processed IAPP, secreted from surrounding beta cells.


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How to Cite
Westermark G. T., Steiner D. F., Gebre-Medhin S., Engström U., & Westermark P. (2000). Pro Islet Amyloid Polypeptide (ProIAPP) Immunoreactivity in the Islets of Langerhans. Upsala Journal of Medical Sciences, 105(2), 97-106.
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