Islet amyloidosis is characterized by the deposition and accumulation of amylin in pancreatic beta-cells and is observed in 90% of patients with type 2 diabetes. Previous studies have also revealed the presence of the specific heparan sulfate proteoglycan, perlecan, colocalized to islet amyloid deposits, similar to perlecan's known involvement with other amyloid proteins. In the present study, perlecan purified from the Engelbreth-Holm-Swarm (EHS) tumor was used to define perlecan's interactions with amylin (i.e., islet amyloid polypeptide) and its effects on amylin fibril formation. Using a solid phase-binding immunoassay, human amylin, but not rat amylin, bound immobilized EHS perlecan with a single dissociation constant (Kd) = 2.75 x 10(-6) mol/l. The binding of human amylin to perlecan was similarly observed using perlecan heparan sulfate glycosaminoglycans (GAGs), and was completely abolished by 10 micromol/l heparin. Using thioflavin T fluorometry, Congo red staining, and electron microscopy methodology, intact perlecan was found to enhance amylin fibril formation in a dosage-dependent manner, with the majority of these effects attributed to the heparan sulfate GAG chains of perlecan. Other sulfated GAGs and related macromolecules were also effective in the enhancement of amylin fibril formation in the order of heparin > heparan sulfate > chondroitin-4-sulfate = dermatan sulfate = dextran sulfate > pentosan polysulfate, implicating the importance of the specific GAG/carbohydrate backbone. The sulfate content of heparin/heparan sulfate was also important for the enhancement of amylin fibril formation in the order of heparin > N-desulfated N-acetylated heparin > completely desulfated N-sulfated heparin > completely desulfated N-acetylated heparin. These studies suggest that the enhancement effects of perlecan on amylin fibril formation are mediated primarily by both specific GAG chain backbone and GAG sulfate content, and implicate perlecan as an important macromolecule that is likely involved in the pathogenesis of islet amyloidosis.

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