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Pleiotrophin (PTN) is a heparin-binding cytokine that is widely expressed during early development and increases in maternal circulation during pregnancy.Aged PTN-deficient mice exhibit insulin resistance, suggesting a role in metabolic control. The objectives of this study were to determine if PTN is expressed in mouse pancreatic β-cells in young vs. adult animals, and its effects on DNA synthesis, β-cell gene expression and glucose-stimulated insulin secretion (GSIS). The Ptn gene was expressed in isolated fractions of young mouse β-cells, especially within immature β-cells with low glucose transporter 2 expression. Expression was retained in the adult pancreas but did not significantly change during pregnancy. PTN and its receptor, phosphotyrosine phosphatase-β/ζ, were also expressed in the proliferative INS1E β-cell line. Fluorescence immunohistochemistry showed that PTN peptide was present in islets of Langerhans in adult mice, associated predominantly with β-cells. The percentage of β-cells staining for PTN did not alter during mouse pregnancy, but intense staining was seen during β-cell regeneration in young mice following depletion of β-cells with streptozotocin. Incubation of INS1E cells with PTN resulted in an increased DNA synthesis as measured by Ki67 localization and increased expression of Pdx1 and insulin. However, both DNA synthesis and GSIS were not altered by PTN in isolated adult mouse islets. The findings show that Ptn is expressed in mouse β-cells in young and adult life and could potentially contribute to adaptive increases in β-cell mass during early life or pregnancy.

Original publication




Journal article


Front Endocrinol (Lausanne)

Publication Date





DNA synthesis, RPTP β/ζ, islet of Langerhans, pancreas, pleiotrophin, β-cell, Animals, Carrier Proteins, Cytokines, DNA, Female, Mice, Pregnancy, Receptor-Like Protein Tyrosine Phosphatases, Class 5