Obesity and pregnancy are associated with diminished insulin sensitivity, accompanied by an increase in the demand for insulin. To compensate the pancreas expands its population of insulin-producing beta islet cells.
Researchers led by Romano Regazzi at the University of Lausanne have identified a microRNA that participates in beta islet expansion. In this issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation, Regazzi and colleagues report that decreases in the microRNA miR-338-3p were correlated with increases in the number of beta islets during pregnancy in rats.
Blocking miR-338-3p increased beta islet expansion, suggesting that regulation of this microRNA may be important in disease states associated with insulin resistance, such as gestational diabetes.
“MicroRNAs contribute to compensatory beta-cell expansion during pregnancy and obesity”
University of Lausanne, Lausanne, CHE
Journal of Clinical Investigation Sept. 10, 2012