Evaluation of rat insulin messenger RNA in pancreatic and extrapancreatic tissues

S. J. Giddings, J. Chirgwin, M. A. Permutt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

54 Scopus citations


The purpose of these studies was to determine whether insulin detected immunochemically in extrapancreatic tissues of the adult rat is synthesized in situ by quantitating mRNA in these tissues. A blot hybridization assay was utilized with cloned 32P-proinsulin cDNA. The lower limit of detection was estimated to be 3pg. Proinsulin mRNA concentration was found to be 1000-1500 μg in isolated pancreatic islets and was easily detected in total pancreatic RNA at 10-15 pg/ μg. Proinsulin mRNA was quantitated in rat insulinoma cells adapted to culture at levels 1:50 those in normal islets. Samples of RNA (20-50 μg) enriched about 50-fold for mRNA sequences by repeated oligo-deoxythymidylate chromatography were assayed. No insulin mRNA was detected in 50 μg samples of RNA from brain or in 20 μg samples from subsections of brain or other extrapancreatic tissues. RNA samples were undegraded as assessed by ability to stimulate protein synthesis in a cell-free system. Proinsulin mRNA from pancreas was added to brain homogenates and recovered intact. Brain RNA samples with insulin mRNA levels 1:1000 that of pancreas would be predicted to have 50-75 pg proinsulin mRNA/50 μg sample assayed if present. Because none was found, brain must have a concentration <1:6,000 that of pancreas. These findings suggest that immunoassayable insulin detected in extrapancreatic tissues of the adult rat is synthesized by the pancreas.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)343-347
Number of pages5
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 1985



  • RNA blot hybridization
  • brain mRNA
  • pancreatic islets
  • proinsulin mRNA
  • rat

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism

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