Paediatrics Publications

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Scientific Reports





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The apelin receptor (Aplnr) and its ligands, Apelin and Apela, contribute to metabolic control. The insulin resistance associated with pregnancy is accommodated by an expansion of pancreatic β-cell mass (BCM) and increased insulin secretion, involving the proliferation of insulin-expressing, glucose transporter 2-low (Ins+Glut2LO) progenitor cells. We examined changes in the apelinergic system during normal mouse pregnancy and in pregnancies complicated by glucose intolerance with reduced BCM. Expression of Aplnr, Apelin and Apela was quantified in Ins+Glut2LO cells isolated from mouse pancreata and found to be significantly higher than in mature β-cells by DNA microarray and qPCR. Apelin was localized to most β-cells by immunohistochemistry although Aplnr was predominantly associated with Ins+Glut2LO cells. Aplnr-staining cells increased three- to four-fold during pregnancy being maximal at gestational days (GD) 9–12 but were significantly reduced in glucose intolerant mice. Apelin-13 increased β-cell proliferation in isolated mouse islets and INS1E cells, but not glucose-stimulated insulin secretion. Glucose intolerant pregnant mice had significantly elevated serum Apelin levels at GD 9 associated with an increased presence of placental IL-6. Placental expression of the apelinergic axis remained unaltered, however. Results show that the apelinergic system is highly expressed in pancreatic β-cell progenitors and may contribute to β-cell proliferation in pregnancy.