Ames dward mice, insulin signaling, adipose tissue


Ames dwarf (df/df) mice are homozygous for a spontaneous mutation in the prop1 gene due to which there is no development of anterior pituitary cells – somatotrophs, lactotrophs and thyrotrophs, leading to a deficiency of growth hormone (GH), prolactin (PRL) and thyrotropin (TSH). They tend to become obese as they age, but still live longer and healthier lives compared to their wild-type littermates, being very insulin sensitive, showing no signs of diabetes and cancer. These mutant mice also have high circulating levels of anti-inflammatory and antidiabetic adiponectin. Plasma levels of this adipokine usually decrease with an increase in accumulation of visceral fat (VF). We thus believe that VF in df/df mice, developed in the absence of GH signaling, may be functionally different from the same fat depots in normal (N) mice and may be beneficial, rather than detrimental, to the overall health of the animal. We performed surgeries involving removal of VF depots (epididymal and perirenal fat) in both groups of mice and hypothesize that the beneficial effects of visceral fat removal (VFR) will be present exclusively in N mice as VF in df/df mice contributes to enhanced insulin sensitivity by producing decreased levels of pro-inflammatory adipokines like TNF and IL-6. We found that VFR improved insulin sensitivity only in N mice but not in the df/df mice. This intervention led to an upregulation of certain players of the insulin signaling pathway in the skeletal muscle of N mice only, with no alteration in df/df mice. The subcutaneous fat of df/df mice showed a downregulation of these insulin signaling genes upon VFR. Compared to N mice, epididymal fat of df/df mice (sham-operated) had increased gene expression of some of the players involved in insulin signaling and a decrease in transcript levels of TNFa. Ames dwarf mice had decreased levels of IL-6 protein in EF and in circulation. High circulating levels of adiponectin and iv decreased levels of IL-6 in circulation could contribute to the high insulin sensitivity observed in the Ames dwarf mice. Understanding the mechanisms responsible for VF having positive effects on insulin signaling in df/df mice would be important for future treatment of obese diabetic patients.


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Graduation Date





Masternak, Michal


Master of Science (M.S.)


College of Medicine


Molecular Biology and Microbiology

Degree Program









Release Date

August 2013

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Masters Thesis (Open Access)


Dissertations, Academic -- Medicine, Medicine -- Dissertations, Academic

Restricted to the UCF community until August 2013; it will then be open access.