Reduced Compensatory β-Cell Proliferation in Nfatc3-Deficient Mice Fed on High-Fat Diet

Li Hu, Fengli He, Yan Luo, Hairong Luo, Luo Hai, Yabin Li, Zhiguang Zhou, Feng Liu, Yan Shan Dai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background High-fat-diet induces pancreatic β-cell compensatory proliferation, and impairments in pancreatic β-cell proliferation and function can lead to defects in insulin secretion and diabetes. NFATc3 is important for HFD-induced adipose tissue inflammation. But it is unknown whether NFATc3 is required for β cell compensatory growth in mice fed with HFD. Methods NFATc3 mRNA and protein expression levels were quantified by RT-qPCR and Western blotting, respectively, in pancreatic islets of WT mice fed on HFD for 12-20 weeks. Adenoviral-mediated overexpression of NFATc3 were conducted in Min6 cells and cultured primary mouse islets. NFATc3-/- mice and WT control mice were fed with HFD and metabolic and functional parameters were measured. Results We observed that the NFATc3 expression level was reduced in the islets of high-fat-diet (HFD)-fed mice. Adenovirus-mediated overexpression of NFATc3 enhanced glucose-stimulated insulin secretion and β-cell gene expression in cultured primary mouse islets. Nfatc3-/- mice initially developed similar glucose tolerance at 2-4 weeks after HFD feeding than HFD-fed WT mice, but Nfatc3-/- mice developed improved glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity after 8 weeks of HFD feeding compared to Nfatc3+/+fed with HFD. Furthermore, Nfatc3-/- mice on HFD exhibited decreased β-cell mass and reduced expression of genes important for β-cell proliferation and function compared to Nfatc3+/+mice on HFD. Conclusions The findings suggested that NFATc3 plays a role in maintaining the pancreatic β-cell compensatory growth and gene expression in response to obesity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)651-660
Number of pages10
JournalExperimental and Clinical Endocrinology and Diabetes
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2021


  • Nfatc3
  • diabetes
  • high-fat diet
  • pancreatic β-Cell

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology


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