The regulation of glucose-stimulated insulin secretion (GSIS) is central to maintenance of glucose disposal. The role of lipid storage and lipid oxidation to regulate pancreatic islet β-cell insulin secretion is not completely understood. Peroxisomes are enriched in insulin-producing β-cells, but their contribution to β-cell function and maturity is lacking. Therefore, we generated a novel model of peroxisomal dysfunction to test the hypothesis that peroxisomal lipid metabolism is required to prevent a hyperlipidemic environment that interferes with β-cell function and maturity. Pex5 plays a critical role in importing the majority of peroxisomal proteins into the peroxisomal matrix; thus, deletion of the Pex5 gene creates a cellular environment with reductions in function of this organelle. In this study, we bred Pex5 mice on a C57BL/6J background containing ‘floxed’ alleles to Pdx1-cre mice to generate offspring with a pancreas-wide deficiency in Pex5 expression and abundance. Glucose tolerance was impaired by 12 weeks in male mice (n=20; AUC p<0.05). Surprisingly, GSIS was elevated in Pex5Pdx1-/- mice compared to littermate controls both in vivo (n=15; AUC p<0.05) and ex vivo in isolated islets as measured by perifusion analysis (n=12; AUC p<0.01). We further found that a subset of β-cells from Pex5Pdx1-/- mice expressed the de-differentiation marker Aldh1a3, while a subset of β-cells showed reductions in MafA and Nkx6.1 staining compared to controls. Perilipin-1 staining showed increased presence of lipid droplets in pancreatic tissue of Pex5Pdx1-/- mice versus controls. Thus, pancreatic deletion of peroxisomal function results in increased lipid storage in pancreatic tissue that is correlated with exaggerated insulin secretion. Collectively, these data are in support of a model whereby peroxisomal function supports β-cell insulin secretion and maintenance of the fully differentiated state.


S. Burke: None. S. Ghosh: None. D. Burk: None. R. Noland: None. J. Collier: None.

Readers may use this article as long as the work is properly cited, the use is educational and not for profit, and the work is not altered. More information is available at