Ultrastructural changes in pancreatic beta cells treated with NGF and dbcAMP

M. González del Pliego, E. Aguirre-Benítez, M. Del Carmen Sánchez-Soto, M. Larrieta, A. Velázquez-Carranza, R. Vidaltamayo, M. Meza-Mora, A. Zepeda-Rodríguez, J. Hernández-Falcón, M. Hiriart

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10 Citations (Scopus)


Nerve growth factor (NGF) induces morphological and physiological changes in cultured pancreatic β-cells, including the extension of neurite-like processes. This latter effect is potentiated by dibutyryl cAMP (dbcAMP). β-cells cultured under these conditions maintain their immunoreactivity to insulin and gamma-amino-butyric acid (GABA). NGF, dbcAMP, and high glucose concentrations also increase the expression of the GABA-synthesizing enzyme glutamic acid decarboxylase-65 in cultured β-cells. The aim of this work was to study the effect of NGF alone or in combination with dbcAMP on pancreatic β-cell ultrastructural morphology, after 10 days in culture. We used light microscopy, scanning electron microscopy, and transmission electron microscopy to analyze the modifications in cell surface and neurite-like projections. Morphometric analysis showed that NGF and/or dbcAMP treatment substantially increased the insulin and GABA content in granules and rough endoplasmic reticulum. Given that pancreatic β-cells express NGF receptors and that NGF is synthesized and secreted by β-cells, these results further suggest that NGF could have trophic actions on pancreatic hormone synthesis and/or storage.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)365-378
Number of pages14
JournalCell and Tissue Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2001
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by grants DGAPA IN208295 and CONACyT 3174P-9607, México

Copyright 2008 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Histology
  • Cell Biology


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