The Effect of Diabetes Mellitus on the Morphology and Physiology of Monoamine Oxidase in the Pancreas

Ernest Adeghate, Hasan Parvez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Monoamine oxidase (MAO) is an ubiquitous, non-soluble, membrane-bound enzyme, located in the outer membrane of mitochondria. MAO consists of two subtypes, MAO-A and MAO-B, depending on their substrates and sensitivity to inhibitors. MAO consists of two units joined together by a disulphide bond. The two units of MAO and flavin adenine dinucleotide (FAD) form a polymer in the outer membrane of mitochondria. The function of MAO-A is highly dependent on the lipid constituent of mitochondrial membrane, whereas the function of MAO-B does not depend on the lipid status of mitochondrial membrane. Hydrogen peroxide and ammonia are generated during MAO-induced metabolism of its substrates. MAO and its substrates are present in both the exocrine as well as the endocrine parts of the pancreas. In the islet of Longerhans, MAO-A is observed in about 50% of the cells, whereas MAO-B is less abundant and located mainly in the periphery of pancreatic islets. MAO-B is also demonstrated in centroacinar cells and in pancreatic ducts. Electron microscopy studies suggest that MAO is co-localised with insulin in secretory granules of pancreatic beta cells. Pharmacologically, beta-2-adrenoreceptors agonists such as terbutaline can stimulate MAO activity. In contrast, cholinergic muscarinic stimulation does not affect islet MAO activity. MAO activity in pancreatic tissue is significantly reduced in diabetes. This decrease in MAO activity is associated with an increase in pancreatic tissue levels of adrenaline (ADR) and noradrenaline (NA). Studies on the level of 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid of pancreatic tissues suggest that serotonin level is also increased in diabetics. Many studies show that MAO inhibits insulin secretion. However, some of its substrates including, serotonin, adrenaline and noradrenaline have been shown to stimulate insulin secretion. In conclusion, the activity and subcellular localisation of MAO suggests that MAO may play an important role in pancreatic beta cell function and hence in the pathogenesis of diabetes mellitus.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)167-173
Number of pages7
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2004


  • Catecholamines
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Insulin secretion
  • MAO inhibitors
  • Monoamine oxidase
  • Pancreas

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • Toxicology


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