Immunoreactive neurotensin (IR-NT) content in 2 N acetic acid extracts of pancreas was measured in genetically diabetic (C57BL/KsJ db/db and ob/ob) and obese (C57BL/6J ob/ob and db/db) mice and normal littermate controls from 5 to 24 wk of age to determine the relationship of any changes to the development of metabolic abnormalities. Pancreatic IR-NT in obese mice showed no consistent change compared with lean littermate controls. In contrast, diabetic mice demonstrated an increase in pancreatic IR-NT that occurred at 6–8 wk of age, and maximal about the time of islet B-cell failure (8–10 wk), and persisted over the study period. Pancreatic IR-NT eluted in two peaks on reverse phase high-pressure liquid chromatography, one of which exhibited a retention time similar to that of synthetic NT. These findings suggest that pancreatic IR-NT concentration is regulated by insulin, with elevated levels occurring in association with insulin deficiency and its metabolic consequences but not with insulin resistance. Taken together with the previous demonstration that NT influences pancreatic islet hormone secretion, the present findings support a possible role of endogenous NT in islet hormone regulation.

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