There is a clinical need for plasma tests that can directly detect injury to pancreatic beta cells in type 1 diabetes. Such tests require biomarkers that are abundantly and selectively released into plasma by damaged beta cells. We combined LC-MS/MS proteomics and tissue-comparative transcriptomics of FACS-purified beta cells for bottom-up identification of candidate markers. Less than 10% of 467 proteins detected in beta cells showed endocrine-enriched expression. One surprising candidate was the neuronal migration marker doublecortin: in situ analysis revealed uniform doublecortin expression in the cytoplasm of all beta cells. Western blotting and real-time PCR confirmed its strong beta cell-selectivity outside the brain and its high molar abundance, indicating promising biomarker properties in comparison to GAD65, a more established marker of beta cell injury. DCX potential was validated in vitro: chemically-induced necrosis of rat and human beta cells led to a discharge of intracellular doublecortin into the extracellular space, proportionate to the amount of injured cells, and similar to GAD65. In vivo, recombinant DCX showed favorable pharmacokinetic properties, with a half-life in plasma of around 3h. Combined, our findings provide first proof-of-principle for doublecortin as biomarker for beta cell injury in vitro, advocating its further validation as biomarker in vivo.
Useful keywords (using NLM MeSH Indexing)
Find related publications in this database (Keywords)Insulin-secreting cells