Although a large proportion of patients with type 2 diabetes (T2D) accumulate misfolded aggregates composed of the islet amyloid polypeptide (IAPP), its role in the disease is unknown. Here, we show that pancreatic IAPP aggregates can promote the misfolding and aggregation of endogenous IAPP in islet cultures obtained from transgenic mouse or healthy human pancreas. Islet homogenates immunodepleted with anti-IAPP-specific antibodies were not able to induce IAPP aggregation. Importantly, intraperitoneal inoculation of pancreatic homogenates containing IAPP aggregates into transgenic mice expressing human IAPP dramatically accelerates IAPP amyloid deposition, which was accompanied by clinical abnormalities typical of T2D, including hyperglycemia, impaired glucose tolerance, and a substantial reduction on β cell number and mass. Finally, induction of IAPP deposition and diabetic abnormalities were also induced in vivo by administration of IAPP aggregates prepared in vitro using pure, synthetic IAPP. Our findings suggest that some of the pathologic and clinical alterations of T2D might be transmissible through a similar mechanism by which prions propagate in prion diseases.
- Journal Article