Sex-based impact of pancreatic islet stressors in GluCreERT2/Rosa26-eYFP mice

Neil Tanday, Aimee Coulter-Parkhill, R Charlotte Moffett, Karthick Suruli, Vaibhav Dubey, Peter R Flatt, Nigel Irwin

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The present study examines differences in metabolic and pancreatic islet adaptative responses following streptozotocin (STZ) and hydrocortisone (HC) administration in male and female transgenic GluCreERT2/Rosa26-eYFP mice. Mice received 5 daily doses of STZ (50 mg/kg, i.p) or 10 daily doses of HC (70 mg/kg, i.p), with parameters assessed on day 11. STZ-induced hyperglycaemia was evident in both sexes, alongside impaired glucose tolerance and reduced insulin concentrations. HC also had similar metabolic effects in male and female mice resulting in classical increases of circulating insulin indicative of insulin resistance. Control male mice had larger pancreatic islets than females and displayed a greater reduction of islet and beta-cell area in response to STZ insult. In addition, female STZ mice had lower levels of beta-cell apoptosis than male counterparts. Following HC administration, female mouse islets contained a greater proportion of alpha-cells when compared to males. All HC mice presented with relatively comparable increases in beta- and alpha-cell turnover rates, with female mice being slightly more susceptible to HC-induced beta-cell apoptosis. Interestingly, healthy control female mice had inherently increased alpha- to beta-cell transdifferentiation rates, which was decreased by HC treatment. The number of glucagon-positive alpha-cells altering their lineage to insulin-positive beta-cells was increased in male, but not female, STZ mice. Taken together, although there was no obvious sex-specific alteration of metabolic profile in STZ or HC mice, subtle differences in pancreatic islet morphology emphasises the impact of sex hormones on islets and importance of taking care when interpreting observations between males and females.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere230174
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Endrocrinology
Issue number2
Early online date25 Sept 2023
Publication statusPublished online - 25 Sept 2023


  • Animals
  • Female
  • Glucagon
  • Glucagon-Secreting Cells
  • Hydrocortisone
  • Insulin
  • Islets of Langerhans
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • insulin
  • sex
  • islet
  • streptozotocin
  • hydrocortisone
  • transdifferentiation


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