- Pasek RC, Dunn JC, Elsakr JM, Aramandla M, Matta AR, Gannon M. Connective tissue growth factor is critical for proper β-cell function and pregnancy-induced β-cell hyperplasia in adult mice. American journal of physiology. Endocrinology and metabolism. 2016 Sep 1;311(3). E564-74. PMID: 27460898 [PubMed]. PMCID: PMC5142004.
During pregnancy, maternal β-cells undergo compensatory changes, including increased β-cell mass and enhanced glucose-stimulated insulin secretion. Failure of these adaptations to occur results in gestational diabetes mellitus. The secreted protein connective tissue growth factor (CTGF) is critical for normal β-cell development and promotes regeneration after partial β-cell ablation. During embryogenesis, CTGF is expressed in pancreatic ducts, vasculature, and β-cells. In adult pancreas, CTGF is expressed only in the vasculature. Here we show that pregnant mice with global Ctgf haploinsufficiency (Ctgf(LacZ/+)) have an impairment in maternal β-cell proliferation; no difference was observed in virgin Ctgf(LacZ/+) females. Using a conditional CTGF allele, we found that mice with a specific inactivation of CTGF in endocrine cells (Ctgf(ΔEndo)) develop gestational diabetes during pregnancy, but this is due to a reduction in glucose-stimulated insulin secretion rather than impaired maternal β-cell proliferation. Moreover, virgin Ctgf(ΔEndo) females also display impaired GSIS with glucose intolerance, indicating that underlying β-cell dysfunction precedes the development of gestational diabetes in this animal model. This is the first time a role for CTGF in β-cell function has been reported.