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Deficiency of ATF3, an adaptive-response gene, protects islets and ameliorates inflammation in a syngeneic transplantation model


AIMS/HYPOTHESIS: Islet transplantation is a potential therapeutic option for type 1 diabetes. However, the need for multiple donors per patient and heavy immunosuppression of the recipients limit its use. The goal of this study was to test whether the gene encoding activating transcription factor 3 (ATF3), a stress-inducible pro-apoptotic gene, plays a role in graft rejection in islet transplantation. METHODS: We compared wild-type (WT) and Atf3 knockout (KO) islets in vitro using stress paradigms relevant to islet transplantation: isolation, inflammation and hypoxia. We also compared the WT and KO islets in vivo using a syngeneic mouse transplantation model. RESULTS: ATF3 was induced in all three stress paradigms and played a deleterious role in islet survival, as evidenced by the lower viability of WT islets compared with KO islets. ATF3 upregulated various downstream target genes in a stress-dependent manner. These target genes can be classified into two functional groups: (1) apoptosis (Noxa [also known as Pmaip1] and Bnip3), and (2) immunomodulation (Tnfalpha [also known as Tnf], Il-1beta [also known as Il1b], Il-6 [also known as Il6] and Ccl2 [also known as Mcp-1]). In vivo, Atf3 KO islets performed better than WT islets after transplantation, as evidenced by better glucose homeostasis in the recipients and the reduction of the following variables in the KO grafts: caspase 3 activation, macrophage infiltration and expression of the above apoptotic and immunomodulatory genes. CONCLUSIONS/INTERPRETATION: ATF3 plays a role in islet graft rejection by contributing to islet cell death and inflammatory responses at the graft sites. Silencing the ATF3 gene may provide therapeutic benefits in islet transplantation.

ISBN 1432-0428 (Electronic) 0012-186X (Linking)
Authors Zmuda, E.J.; Viapiano, M.; Grey, S.T.; Hadley, G.; Garcia-Ocaa, A.; Hai, T.
Published Date 2010-05-01
Published Volume 53
Published Issue 7
Published Pages 1438-50
Status Published in-print
DOI 10.1007/s00125-010-1696-x
URL link to publisher's version
OpenAccess link to author's accepted manuscript version