GLUT2 underexpression has been reported in the +-cells of Zucker diabetic fatty rats and db/db mice, models of spontaneously occurring NIDDM with antecedent obesity. To determine whether the +-cells of a nonobese rodent model of NIDDM exhibit the same abnormalities in GLUT2, we studied Goto-Kakizaki rats. In these mildly diabetic animals glucose-stimulated insulin secretion was reduced at all ages examined from 8 to 48 wk. In normal control Wistar rats, immunostainable GLUT2 was present on all insulin-positive cells in the pancreatic islets. Only 85% of +-cells were GLUT2-positive in GK rats at 12 wk of age, and only 34% were positive at 48 wk of age. GLUT2 mRNA was 50% of normal in 12-wk-old GK rats. In the latter age-group, glucose-stimulated insulin secretion was only 28% of normal at a time when 85% of +-cells were GLUT2-positive and initial 3-O-methyl-D-glucose transport rate was 77% of the control value. We conclude that although GLUT2 is underexpressed, neither the magnitude of the underexpression of GLUT2 nor of the reduction in GLUT2 transport function in islets of GK rats is sufficient by itself to explain the profound reduction in glucose-stimulated insulin secretion.

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