, Volume 47, Issue 4, pp 686-694
Date: 01 Apr 2004

Pancreatic islets from cyclin-dependent kinase 4/R24C (Cdk4) knockin mice have significantly increased beta cell mass and are physiologically functional, indicating that Cdk4 is a potential target for pancreatic beta cell mass regeneration in Type 1 diabetes



Cyclin-dependent kinase 4 (Cdk4) is crucial for beta cell development. A mutation in the gene encoding for Cdk4, Cdk4R24C, causes this kinase to be insensitive to INK4 cell cycle inhibitors and induces beta cell hyperplasia in Cdk4R24C knockin mice. We aimed to determine whether this Cdk4R24C mutation also affects proper islet function, and whether it promotes proliferation in human islets lentivirally transduced with Cdk4R24C cDNA.


Our study was conducted on wild-type and Cdk4R24C knockin mice. Pancreases were morphometrically analysed. Intraperitoneal glucose tolerance tests and intravenous insulin tolerance tests were performed on wild-type and Cdk4R24C mice. We also did in vitro islet perifusion studies and islet metabolic labelling analysis. Human islets were transduced with Cdk4R24C cDNA.


Pancreatic islets from Cdk4R24C knockin mice exhibit a larger insulin-producing beta cell area and a higher insulin content than islets from wild-type littermates. Insulin secretion in response to glucose is faster and reaches a higher peak in Cdk4R24C mice without leading to hypoglycaemia. Conversion of proinsulin into insulin and its intermediates is similar in Cdk4R24C and wild-type mice. Glucose utilisation and oxidation measured per islet were similar in both experimental groups. Insulin secretion was faster and enhanced in Cdk4R24C islets perifused with 16.7 mmol/l glucose, with slower decay kinetics when glucose returned to 2.8 mmol/l. Moreover, human islets expressing Cdk4R24C cDNA exhibited higher beta cell proliferation.


Despite their hyperplastic growth, Cdk4R24C insulin-producing islet cells behave like differentiated beta cells with regard to insulin production, insulin secretion in response to glucose, and islet glucose metabolism. Therefore Cdk4 could possibly be used to engineer a source of beta cell mass for islet transplantation.

N. Marzo, C. Mora and M. E. Fabregat contributed equally to this paper.