Diabetes is a common comorbidity in cystic fibrosis (CF) that worsens prognosis. The lack of an animal model for CF-related diabetes (CFRD) has made it difficult to dissect how the onset of pancreatic pathology influences the emergence of CFRD. We evaluated the structure and function of the neonatal CF endocrine pancreas using a new CFTR-knockout ferret model. Although CF kits are born with only mild exocrine pancreas disease, progressive exocrine and endocrine pancreatic loss during the first months of life was associated with pancreatic inflammation, spontaneous hyperglycemia, and glucose intolerance. Interestingly, prior to major exocrine pancreas disease, CF kits demonstrated significant abnormalities in blood glucose and insulin regulation, including diminished first-phase and accentuated peak insulin secretion in response to glucose, elevated peak glucose levels following glucose challenge, and variably elevated insulin and C-peptide levels in the nonfasted state. Although there was no difference in lobular insulin and glucagon expression between genotypes at birth, significant alterations in the frequencies of small and large islets were observed. Newborn cultured CF islets demonstrated dysregulated glucose-dependent insulin secretion in comparison to controls, suggesting intrinsic abnormalities in CF islets. These findings demonstrate that early abnormalities exist in the regulation of insulin secretion by the CF endocrine pancreas.
Alicia K. Olivier, Yaling Yi, Xingshen Sun, Hongshu Sui, Bo Liang, Shanming Hu, Weiliang Xie, John T. Fisher, Nicholas W. Keiser, Diana Lei, Weihong Zhou, Ziying Yan, Guiying Li, Turan I.A. Evans, David K. Meyerholz, Kai Wang, Zoe A. Stewart, Andrew W. Norris, John F. Engelhardt
Progressive exocrine histopathology in the neonatal CF ferret pancreas.