Vanderbilt University School of Medicine

Powers, Alvin C. , M.D.
Director Division of Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolism
Professor of Medicine
Professor of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics
Joe C. Davis Chair in Biomedical Science

Lab Url:

Phone Number: 615-936-7678


Powers, Alvin's picture

Office Address   Mailing Address

8435E MRB4 (Langford)

7465 MRBIV 37232

Research Keywords
Pancreatic Islet Biology, Vascularization, Development, Regeneration, Proliferation, and Imaging; Diabetes,Developmental biology,Diabetes,Molecular medicine,Transplantation,Vascular Biology

Research Specialty
Pancreatic Islet Biology, Vascularization, Development, Regeneration, and Imaging; Diabetes

Research Description
The purpose of our research is to understand how glucose stimulates insulin secretion by pancreatic islet cells and to characterize and reverse abnormalities in this process that are present in diabetes. Insulin secretion by pancreatic islets is very tightly coupled to changes in the blood glucose; abnormalities in insulin secretion are a major factor in both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Our laboratory is conducting research in three areas. First, we are studying the sequence of molecular events and factors important for the development of normal islet vasculature. Pancreatic islets are extensively vascularized and this is important in their ability to sense the blood glucose and quickly secrete insulin. Second, we are investigating the molecular mechanisms of islet growth and regeneration with a focus on growth factors and signal transduction pathways in both rodent and human pancreatic islets. We have developed a new model where beta cell proliferation is related to islet cell interactions with macrophages and endothelial cells. Third, we are developing in vivo bioluminescence and other technologies to image and quantify pancreatic islets in vivo. Many of our studies involve the study of the human pancreas or human islets transplanted into immunodeficient mice to generate information relevant to human diabetes. Our research utilizes research approaches such as RNA and protein analysis, genetically modified mice, in vivo physiology, radioimmunoassay, adenovirus mediated gene transfer, transplantation of murine and human islets, confocal microscopy, and immunocytochemistry and involves collaborations with vascular biologists, development biologists, biomedical engineers, and transplant biologists.

Clinical Interests
General endocrinology, diabetes, thyroid disease

Alfa, RW, Park, S, Skelly, KR, Poffenberger, G, Jain, N, Gu, X, Kockel, L, Wang, J, Liu, Y, Powers, AC, Kim, SK. Suppression of insulin production and secretion by a decretin hormone. Cell Metab, 21(2), 323-33, 2015.

Atkinson, MA, von Herrath, M, Powers, AC, Clare-Salzler, M. Current concepts on the pathogenesis of type 1 diabetes--considerations for attempts to prevent and reverse the disease. Diabetes Care, 38(6), 979-88, 2015.

Brissova, M, Shostak, A, Fligner, CL, Revetta, FL, Washington, MK, Powers, AC, Hull, RL. Human Islets Have Fewer Blood Vessels than Mouse Islets and the Density of Islet Vascular Structures Is Increased in Type 2 Diabetes. J Histochem Cytochem, 63(8), 637-45, 2015.

Burke, SJ, May, AL, Noland, RC, Lu, D, Brissova, M, Powers, AC, Sherrill, EM, Karlstad, MD, Campagna, SR, Stephens, JM, Collier, JJ. Thiobenzothiazole-modified Hydrocortisones Display Anti-inflammatory Activity with Reduced Impact on Islet ??-Cell Function. J Biol Chem, 290(21), 13401-16, 2015.

Ceddia, RP, Lee, D, Maulis, MF, Carboneau, BA, Threadgill, DW, Poffenberger, G, Milne, G, Boyd, KL, Powers, AC, McGuinness, OP, Gannon, M, Breyer, RM. The PGE2 EP3 Receptor Regulates Diet-Induced Adiposity in Male Mice. Endocrinology, , en20151693, 2015.

Dou, S, Virostko, J, Greiner, DL, Powers, AC, Liu, G. Quantitative Correlation of in Vivo Properties with in Vitro Assay Results: The in Vitro Binding of a Biotin-DNA Analogue Modifier with Streptavidin Predicts the in Vivo Avidin-Induced Clearability of the Analogue-Modified Antibody. Mol Pharm, 12(8), 3097-103, 2015.

Kayton, NS, Poffenberger, G, Henske, J, Dai, C, Thompson, C, Aramandla, R, Shostak, A, Nicholson, W, Brissova, M, Bush, WS, Powers, AC. Human islet preparations distributed for research exhibit a variety of insulin-secretory profiles. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab, 308(7), E592-602, 2015.

Li, M, Dean, ED, Zhao, L, Nicholson, WE, Powers, AC, Chen, W. Glucagon receptor inactivation leads to ??-cell hyperplasia in zebrafish. J Endocrinol, 227(2), 93-103, 2015.

Raum, JC, Soleimanpour, SA, Groff, DN, Cor??, N, Fasano, L, Garratt, AN, Dai, C, Powers, AC, Stoffers, DA. Tshz1 Regulates Pancreatic ??-Cell Maturation. Diabetes, 64(8), 2905-14, 2015.

Zhu, X, Hu, R, Brissova, M, Stein, RW, Powers, AC, Gu, G, Kaverina, I. Microtubules Negatively Regulate Insulin Secretion in Pancreatic ?? Cells. Dev Cell, 34(6), 656-68, 2015.

Brissova, M, Aamodt, K, Brahmachary, P, Prasad, N, Hong, JY, Dai, C, Mellati, M, Shostak, A, Poffenberger, G, Aramandla, R, Levy, SE, Powers, AC. Islet Microenvironment, Modulated by Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor-A Signaling, Promotes ?? Cell Regeneration. Cell Metab, 19(3), 498-511, 2014.

Halban, PA, Polonsky, KS, Bowden, DW, Hawkins, MA, Ling, C, Mather, KJ, Powers, AC, Rhodes, CJ, Sussel, L, Weir, GC. ??-cell failure in type 2 diabetes: postulated mechanisms and prospects for prevention and treatment. Diabetes Care, 37(6), 1751-8, 2014.

Hang, Y, Yamamoto, T, Benninger, RK, Brissova, M, Guo, M, Bush, W, Piston, DW, Powers, AC, Magnuson, M, Thurmond, DC, Stein, R. The MafA transcription factor becomes essential to islet ??-cells soon after birth. Diabetes, , , 2014.

Kang, L, Dai, C, Lustig, ME, Bonner, JS, Mayes, WH, Mokshagundam, S, James, FD, Thompson, CS, Lin, CT, Perry, CG, Anderson, EJ, Neufer, PD, Wasserman, DH, Powers, AC. Heterozygous SOD2 Deletion Impairs Glucose-Stimulated Insulin Secretion, but not Insulin Action in High Fat-Fed Mice. Diabetes, , , 2014.

Patel, M, Gleason, A, O''Malley, S, Connolly, B, Suresch, D, Virostko, J, Phillips, N, Lin, SA, Chen, TB, Klimas, M, Hargreaves, RJ, Sur, C, Williams, DL, Powers, AC, Bednar, B. Non-invasive bioluminescence imaging of ??-cell function in obese-hyperglycemic [ob/ob] mice. PLoS One, 9(9), e106693, 2014.

Reinert, RB, Cai, Q, Hong, JY, Plank, JL, Aamodt, K, Prasad, N, Aramandla, R, Dai, C, Levy, SE, Pozzi, A, Labosky, PA, Wright, CV, Brissova, M, Powers, AC. Vascular endothelial growth factor coordinates islet innervation via vascular scaffolding. Development, 141(7), 1480-91, 2014.

Dai, C, Brissova, M, Reinert, RB, Nyman, L, Liu, EH, Thompson, C, Shostak, A, Shiota, M, Takahashi, T, Powers, AC. Pancreatic islet vasculature adapts to insulin resistance through dilation and not angiogenesis. Diabetes, 62(12), 4144-53, 2013.

Longuet, C, Robledo, AM, Dean, ED, Dai, C, Ali, S, McGuinness, I, de Chavez, V, Vuguin, PM, Charron, MJ, Powers, AC, Drucker, DJ. Liver-specific disruption of the murine glucagon receptor produces alpha-cell hyperplasia: evidence for a circulating alpha-cell growth factor. Diabetes, 62(4), 1196-205, 2013.

Reinert, RB, Brissova, M, Shostak, A, Pan, FC, Poffenberger, G, Cai, Q, Hundemer, GL, Kantz, J, Thompson, CS, Dai, C, McGuinness, OP, Powers, AC. Vascular endothelial growth factor-a and islet vascularization are necessary in developing, but not adult, pancreatic islets. Diabetes, 62(12), 4154-64, 2013.

Virostko, J, Radhika, A, Poffenberger, G, Dula, AN, Moore, DJ, Powers, AC. Bioluminescence imaging reveals dynamics of beta cell loss in the non-obese diabetic (NOD) mouse model. PLoS One, 8(3), e57784, 2013.

Brehm, MA, Powers, AC, Shultz, LD, Greiner, DL. Advancing animal models of human type 1 diabetes by engraftment of functional human tissues in immunodeficient mice. Cold Spring Harb Perspect Med, 2(5), a007757, 2012. PMCID:3331686

Cai, Q, Brissova, M, Reinert, RB, Cheng Pan, F, Brahmachary, P, Jeansson, M, Shostak, A, Radhika, A, Poffenberger, G, Quaggin, SE, Gray Jerome, W, Dumont, DJ, Powers, AC. Enhanced expression of VEGF-A in I? cells increases endothelial cell number but impairs islet morphogenesis and I? cell proliferation. Dev Biol, 367(1), 40-54, 2012.

Dai, C, Brissova, M, Hang, Y, Thompson, C, Poffenberger, G, Shostak, A, Chen, Z, Stein, R, Powers, AC. Islet-enriched gene expression and glucose-induced insulin secretion in human and mouse islets. Diabetologia, 55(3), 707-18, 2012. PMCID:3268985

Reinert, RB, Kantz, J, Misfeldt, AA, Poffenberger, G, Gannon, M, Brissova, M, Powers, AC. Tamoxifen-Induced Cre-loxP Recombination Is Prolonged in Pancreatic Islets of Adult Mice. PLoS One, 7(3), e33529, 2012. PMCID:3314663

Diiorio, P, Jurczyk, A, Yang, C, Racki, WJ, Brehm, MA, Atkinson, MA, Powers, AC, Shultz, LD, Greiner, DL, Bortell, R. Hyperglycemia-induced proliferation of adult human beta cells engrafted into spontaneously diabetic immunodeficient NOD-Rag1null IL2rI?null Ins2Akita mice. Pancreas, 40(7), 1147-9, 2011. PMCID:3251115

Virostko, J, Henske, J, Vinet, L, Lamprianou, S, Dai, C, Radhika, A, Baldwin, RM, Ansari, MS, Hefti, F, Skovronsky, D, Kung, HF, Herrera, PL, Peterson, TE, Meda, P, Powers, AC. Multimodal image coregistration and inducible selective cell ablation to evaluate imaging ligands. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 108(51), 20719-24, 2011. PMCID:3251115

Nyman, LR, Ford, E, Powers, AC, Piston, DW. Glucose-dependent blood flow dynamics in murine pancreatic islets in vivo. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab, 298(4), E807-14, 2010. PMCID:2853211

Wicksteed, B, Brissova, M, Yan, W, Opland, DM, Plank, JL, Reinert, RB, Dickson, LM, Tamarina, NA, Philipson, LH, Shostak, A, Bernal-Mizrachi, E, Elghazi, L, Roe, MW, Labosky, PA, Myers, MG, Gannon, M, Powers, AC, Dempsey, PJ. Conditional gene targeting in mouse pancreatic ??-Cells: analysis of ectopic Cre transgene expression in the brain. Diabetes, 59(12), 3090-8, 2010. PMCID:2992770

Virostko, J, Radhika, A, Poffenberger, G, Chen, Z, Brissova, M, Gilchrist, J, Coleman, B, Gannon, M, Jansen, ED, Powers, AC. Bioluminescence Imaging in Mouse Models Quantifies beta Cell Mass in the Pancreas and After Islet Transplantation. Mol Imaging Biol, , , 2009.

Berglund, ED, Li, CY, Poffenberger, G, Ayala, JE, Fueger, PT, Willis, SE, Jewell, MM, Powers, AC, Wasserman, DH. Glucose metabolism in vivo in four commonly used inbred mouse strains. Diabetes, 57(7), 1790-9, 2008. PMCID:2453626

Brissova, M, Powers, AC. Revascularization of transplanted islets: can it be improved. Diabetes, 57(9), 2269-71, 2008. PMCID:2518476

Nyman, LR, Wells, KS, Head, WS, McCaughey, M, Ford, E, Brissova, M, Piston, DW, Powers, AC. Real-time, multidimensional in vivo imaging used to investigate blood flow in mouse pancreatic islets. J Clin Invest, 118(11), 3790-7, 2008. PMCID:2564611

Powers, AC. Insulin therapy versus cell-based therapy for type 1 diabetes mellitus: what lies ahead. Nat Clin Pract Endocrinol Metab, 4(12), 664-5, 2008.

Brissova, M, Shostak, A, Shiota, M, Wiebe, PO, Poffenberger, G, Kantz, J, Chen, Z, Carr, C, Jerome, WG, Chen, J, Baldwin, HS, Nicholson, W, Bader, DM, Jetton, T, Gannon, M, Powers, AC. Pancreatic islet production of vascular endothelial growth factor--a is essential for islet vascularization, revascularization, and function. Diabetes, 55(11), 2974-85, 2006.

Brissova, M, Blaha, M, Spear, C, Nicholson, W, Radhika, A, Shiota, M, Charron, MJ, Wright, CV, Powers, AC. Reduced PDX-1 expression impairs islet response to insulin resistance and worsens glucose homeostasis. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab, 288(4), E707-14, 2005.

Brissova, M, Fowler, MJ, Nicholson, WE, Chu, A, Hirshberg, B, Harlan, DM, Powers, AC. Assessment of human pancreatic islet architecture and composition by laser scanning confocal microscopy. J Histochem Cytochem, 53(9), 1087-97, 2005.

Fowler, M, Virostko, J, Chen, Z, Poffenberger, G, Radhika, A, Brissova, M, Shiota, M, Nicholson, WE, Shi, Y, Hirshberg, B, Harlan, DM, Jansen, ED, Powers, AC. Assessment of pancreatic islet mass after islet transplantation using in vivo bioluminescence imaging. Transplantation, 79(7), 768-76, 2005.

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