The pancreas of the naked mole-rat (Heterocephalus glaber): An ultrastructural and immunocytochemical study of the endocrine component of thermoneutral and cold acclimated animals

Beverley Kramer, Rochelle Buffenstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations

Abstract

Endocrine cell distribution within the islets of Langerhans may vary both between species and under different energetically demanding conditions such as cold acclimation. The naked mole-rat, Heterocephalus glaber, lacking an effective insulatory pelage, is effectively a poikilotherm, yet it shows a typical mammalian cold-acclimation response by substantially increasing food intake to meet higher energy requirements when housed at lower temperatures. The endocrine component of the pancreas of thermoneutral and cold-acclimated naked mole-rats was thus characterized using immunocytochemistry and ultrastructural analyses. Four distinct endocrine cells were identified: α (glucagon-producing), β (insulin-producing), δ (somatostatin- producing), and PP (pancreatic polypeptide-producing) cells. Distribution of these cells differed from that of other rodents, in that β cells formed the mantle while α cells formed the core of the islets. This distribution may contribute to the observed insulin insensitivity of this species, as indicated in abnormal responses to glucose tolerance tests. Insulin-producing cells, however, were more numerous than glucagon-producing cells. This ratio was unchanged with cold acclimation. Immunoreactivity of α and β cells was more intense in cold-acclimated than in thermoneutral animals, possibly indicative of a change in hormonal production in animals housed at a lower temperature.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)206-214
Number of pages9
JournalGeneral and Comparative Endocrinology
Volume139
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2004

Keywords

  • Cold acclimation
  • Iimmunocytochemistry
  • Islet cell distribution
  • Naked mole-rat
  • Pancreas
  • Ultrastructure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Endocrinology

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