Type 1 diabetes (T1D) is characterized by autoimmune depletion of insulin-producing pancreatic beta cells. We showed previously that deletion of the 12/15-lipoxygenase enzyme (12/15-LO, Alox15 gene) in NOD mice leads to nearly 100 percent protection from T1D. In this study, we test the hypothesis that cytokines involved in the IL-12/12/15-LO axis affect both macrophage and islet function, which contributes to the development of T1D.
12/15-LO expression was clarified in immune cells by qRT-PCR, and timing of expression was tested in islets using qRT-PCR and Western blotting. Expression of key proinflammatory cytokines and pancreatic transcription factors was studied in NOD and NOD-Alox15null macrophages and islets using qRT-PCR. The two mouse strains were also assessed for the ability of splenocytes to transfer diabetes in an adoptive transfer model, and beta cell mass.
12/15-LO is expressed in macrophages, but not B and T cells of NOD mice. In macrophages, 12/15-LO deletion leads to decreased proinflammatory cytokine mRNA and protein levels. Furthermore, splenocytes from NOD-Alox15null mice are unable to transfer diabetes in an adoptive transfer model. In islets, expression of 12/15-LO in NOD mice peaks at a crucial time during insulitis development. The absence of 12/15-LO results in maintenance of islet health with respect to measurements of islet-specific transcription factors, markers of islet health, proinflammatory cytokines, and beta cell mass.
These results suggest that 12/15-LO affects islet and macrophage function, causing inflammation, and leading to autoimmunity and reduced beta cell mass.
Pancreatic islet transplantation, a treatment for type 1 diabetes, has met significant challenges, as a substantial fraction of the islet mass fails to engraft, partly due to death by apoptosis in the peri- and post-transplantation periods. Previous evidence has suggested that NF-κB activation is involved in cytokine-mediated β-cell apoptosis and regulates the expression of pro-inflammatory and chemokine genes. We therefore sought to explore the effects of β-cell-specific inhibition of NF-κB activation as a means of cytoprotection in an allogeneic model of islet transplantation. To this end, we used islets isolated from the ToI-β transgenic mouse, where NF-κB signalling can specifically and conditionally be inhibited in β-cells by expressing an inducible and non-degradable form of IκBα regulated by the tet-on system. Our results show that β-cell-specific blockade of NF-κB led to a prolonged islet graft survival, with a relative higher preservation of the engrafted endocrine tissue and reduced inflammation. Importantly, a longer delay in allograft rejection was achieved when mice were systemically treated with the proteasome inhibitor, Bortezomib. Our findings emphasize the contribution of NF-κB activation in the allograft rejection process, and suggest an involvement of the CXCL10/IP-10 chemokine. Furthermore, we suggest a potential, readily available therapeutic agent that may temper this process.
Beta cells adapt to an increased insulin demand by enhancing insulin secretion via increased beta cell function and/or increased beta cell number. While morphological and functional heterogeneity between individual islets exists, it is unknown whether regional differences in beta cell adaptation occur. Therefore we investigated beta cell adaptation throughout the pancreas in a model of high-fat diet (HFD)-induced insulin resistance in mice.
C57BL/6J mice were fed a HFD to induce insulin resistance, or control diet for 6 weeks. The pancreas was divided in a duodenal (DR), gastric (GR) and splenic (SR) region and taken for either histology or islet isolation. The capacity of untreated islets from the three regions to adapt in an extrapancreatic location was assessed by transplantation under the kidney capsule of streptozotocin-treated mice.
SR islets showed 70% increased beta cell proliferation after HFD, whereas no significant increase was found in DR and GR islets. Furthermore, isolated SR islets showed twofold enhanced glucose-induced insulin secretion after HFD, as compared with DR and GR islets. In contrast, transplantation of islets isolated from the three regions to an extrapancreatic location in diabetic mice led to a similar decrease in hyperglycemia and no difference in beta cell proliferation.
HFD-induced insulin resistance leads to topologically heterogeneous beta cell adaptation and is most prominent in the splenic region of the pancreas. This topological heterogeneity in beta cell adaptation appears to result from extrinsic factors present in the islet microenvironment.
Previously, we reported that Lactobacillus gasseri BNR17 (BNR17), a probiotic strain isolated from human breast milk, inhibited increases in body weight and adipocyte tissue weight in high-sucrose diet-fed Sprague-Dawley (SD) rats and reduced glucose levels in type 2 diabetes mice. In the current study, we conducted further experiments to extend these observations and elucidate the mechanism involved. C57BL/6J mice received a normal diet, high-sucrose diet or high-sucrose diet containing L. gasseri BNR17 (109 or 1010 CFU) for 10 weeks. The administration of L. gasseri BNR17 significantly reduced the body weight and white adipose tissue weight regardless of the dose administered. In BNR17-fed groups, mRNA levels of fatty acid oxidation-related genes (ACO, CPT1, PPARα, PPARδ) were significantly higher and those of fatty acid synthesis-related genes (SREBP-1c, ACC) were lower compared to the high-sucrose-diet group. The expression of GLUT4, main glucose transporter-4, was elevated in BNR17-fed groups. L. gasseri BNR17 also reduced the levels of leptin and insulin in serum. These results suggest that the anti-obesity actions of L. gasseri BNR17 can be attributed to elevated expression of fatty acid oxidation-related genes and reduced levels of leptin. Additionally, data suggested the anti-diabetes activity of L. gasseri BNR17 may be to due elevated GLUT4 and reduced insulin levels.
microRNAs (miRNAs) play an important role in pancreatic development and adult β-cell physiology. Our hypothesis is based on the assumption that each islet cell type has a specific pattern of miRNA expression. We sought to determine the profile of miRNA expression in α-and β-cells, the main components of pancreatic islets, because this analysis may lead to a better understanding of islet gene regulatory pathways. Highly enriched (>98%) subsets of human α-and β-cells were obtained by flow cytometric sorting after intracellular staining with c-peptide and glucagon antibody. The method of sorting based on intracellular staining is possible because miRNAs are stable after fixation. MiRNA expression levels were determined by quantitative high throughput PCR-based miRNA array platform screening. Most of the miRNAs were preferentially expressed in β-cells. From the total of 667 miRNAs screened, the Significant Analysis of Microarray identified 141 miRNAs, of which only 7 were expressed more in α-cells (α-miRNAs) and 134 were expressed more in β-cells (β-miRNAs). Bioinformatic analysis identified potential targets of β-miRNAs analyzing the Beta Cell Gene Atlas, described in the T1Dbase, the web platform, supporting the type 1 diabetes (T1D) community. cMaf, a transcription factor regulating glucagon expression expressed selectively in α-cells (TFα) is targeted by β-miRNAs; miR-200c, miR-125b and miR-182. Min6 cells treated with inhibitors of these miRNAs show an increased expression of cMaf RNA. Conversely, over expression of miR-200c, miR-125b or miR-182 in the mouse alpha cell line αTC6 decreases the level of cMAF mRNA and protein. MiR-200c also inhibits the expression of Zfpm2, a TFα that inhibits the PI3K signaling pathway, at both RNA and protein levels.
In conclusion, we identified miRNAs differentially expressed in pancreatic α- and β-cells and their potential transcription factor targets that could add new insights into different aspects of islet biology and pathophysiology.
Type 1 diabetes (T1D) results from the autoimmune destruction of insulin-producing beta-cells in the pancreas. Recruitment of inflammatory cells is prerequisite to beta-cell-injury. The junctional adhesion molecule (JAM) family proteins JAM-B and JAM–C are involved in polarized leukocyte transendothelial migration and are expressed by vascular endothelial cells of peripheral tissue and high endothelial venules in lympoid organs. Blocking of JAM-C efficiently attenuated cerulean-induced pancreatitis, rheumatoid arthritis or inflammation induced by ischemia and reperfusion in mice. In order to investigate the influence of JAM-C on trafficking and transmigration of antigen-specific, autoaggressive T-cells, we used transgenic mice that express a protein of the lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV) as a target autoantigen in the β-cells of the islets of Langerhans under the rat insulin promoter (RIP). Such RIP-LCMV mice turn diabetic after infection with LCMV. We found that upon LCMV-infection JAM-C protein was upregulated around the islets in RIP-LCMV mice. JAM-C expression correlated with islet infiltration and functional beta-cell impairment. Blockade with a neutralizing anti-JAM-C antibody reduced the T1D incidence. However, JAM-C overexpression on endothelial cells did not accelerate diabetes in the RIP-LCMV model. In summary, our data suggest that JAM-C might be involved in the final steps of trafficking and transmigration of antigen-specific autoaggressive T-cells to the islets of Langerhans.
In endocrine cells within islets of Langerhans calcium ions couple cell stimulation to hormone secretion. Since the advent of modern fluorimetry, numerous in vitro studies employing primarily isolated mouse islets have investigated the effects of various secretagogues on cytoplasmic calcium, predominantly in insulin-secreting beta cells. Due to technical limitations, insights of these studies are inherently limited to a rather small subpopulation of outermost cells. The results also seem to depend on various factors, like culture conditions and duration, and are not always easily reconcilable with findings in vivo. The main controversies regard the types of calcium oscillations, presence of calcium waves, and the level of synchronized activity. Here, we set out to combine the in situ acute mouse pancreas tissue slice preparation with noninvasive fluorescent calcium labeling and subsequent confocal laser scanning microscopy to shed new light on the existing controversies utilizing an innovative approach enabling the characterization of responses in many cells from all layers of islets. Our experiments reproducibly showed stable fast calcium oscillations on a sustained plateau rather than slow oscillations as the predominant type of response in acute tissue slices, and that calcium waves are the mechanistic substrate for synchronization of oscillations. We also found indirect evidence that even a large amplitude calcium signal was not sufficient and that metabolic activation was necessary to ensure cell synchronization upon stimulation with glucose. Our novel method helped resolve existing controversies and showed the potential to help answer important physiological questions, making it one of the methods of choice for the foreseeable future.
Obesity is associated with a dysregulation of beta-cell and adipocyte function. The molecular interactions between adipose tissue and beta-cells are not yet fully elucidated. We investigated, whether or not the adipocytokine Nicotinamide phosphoribosyltransferase (Nampt) and its enzymatic product Nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN), which has been associated with obesity and type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) directly influence beta-cell survival and function.
The effect of Nampt and NMN on viability of INS-1E cells was assessed by WST-1 assay. Apoptosis was measured by Annexin V/PI and TUNEL assay. Activation of apoptosis signaling pathways was evaluated. Adenylate kinase release was determined to assess cytotoxicity. Chronic and acute effects of the adipocytokine Nampt and its enzymatic product NMN on insulin secretion were assessed by glucose stimulated insulin secretion in human islets.
While stimulation of beta-cells with the cytokines IL-1β, TNFα and IFN-γ or palmitate significantly decreased viability, Nampt and NMN showed no direct effect on viability in INS-1E cells or in human islets, neither alone nor in the presence of pro-diabetic conditions (elevated glucose concentrations and palmitate or cytokines). At chronic conditions over 3 days of culture, Nampt and its product NMN had no effects on insulin secretion. In contrast, both Nampt and NMN potentiated glucose stimulated insulin secretion acutely during 1 h incubation of human islets.
Nampt and NMN neither influenced beta-cell viability nor apoptosis but acutely potentiated glucose stimulated insulin secretion.
We previously identified the transcription factor Myt3 as specifically expressed in pancreatic islets. Here, we sought to determine the expression and regulation of Myt3 in islets and to determine its significance in regulating islet function and survival.
Myt3 expression was determined in embryonic pancreas and adult islets by qPCR and immunohistochemistry. ChIP-seq, ChIP-qPCR and luciferase assays were used to evaluate regulation of Myt3 expression. Suppression of Myt3 was used to evaluate gene expression, insulin secretion and apoptosis in islets.
We show that Myt3 is the most abundant MYT family member in adult islets and that it is expressed in all the major endocrine cell types in the pancreas after E18.5. We demonstrate that Myt3 expression is directly regulated by Foxa2, Pdx1, and Neurod1, which are critical to normal β-cell development and function, and that Ngn3 induces Myt3 expression through alterations in the Myt3 promoter chromatin state. Further, we show that Myt3 expression is sensitive to both glucose and cytokine exposure. Of specific interest, suppressing Myt3 expression reduces insulin content and increases β-cell apoptosis, at least in part, due to reduced Pdx1, Mafa, Il-6, Bcl-xl, c-Iap2 and Igfr1 levels, while over-expression of Myt3 protects islets from cytokine induced apoptosis.
We have identified Myt3 as a novel transcriptional regulator with a critical role in β-cell survival. These data are an important step in clarifying the regulatory networks responsible for β-cell survival, and point to Myt3 as a potential therapeutic target for improving functional β-cell mass.
Resveratrol (RSV) has anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant actions which may contribute to its cardiovascular protective effects. We examined whether RSV has any beneficial effects on pancreatic islets in db/db mice, an animal model of type 2 diabetes. The db/db and db/dm mice (non-diabetic control) were treated with (db-RSV) or without RSV (db-control) (20 mg/kg daily) for 12 weeks. After performing an intraperitoneal glucose tolerance test and insulin tolerance test, mice were sacrificed, the pancreas was weighed, pancreatic β-cell mass was quantified by point count method, and the amount of islet fibrosis was determined. 8-Hydroxydeoxyguanosine (8-OHdG), an oxidative stress marker, was determined in 24 h urine and pancreatic islets. RSV treatment significantly improved glucose tolerance at 2 hrs in db/db mice (P = 0.036), but not in db/dm mice (P = 0.623). This was associated with a significant increase in both pancreas weight (P = 0.011) and β-cell mass (P = 0.016). Islet fibrosis was much less in RSV-treated mice (P = 0.048). RSV treatment also decreased urinary 8-OHdG levels (P = 0.03) and the percentage of islet nuclei that were positive for 8-OHdG immunostaining (P = 0.019). We conclude that RSV treatment improves glucose tolerance, attenuates β-cell loss, and reduces oxidative stress in type 2 diabetes. These findings suggest that RSV may have a therapeutic implication in the prevention and management of diabetes.
The CDKAL1 gene is among the best-replicated susceptibility loci for type 2 diabetes, originally identified by genome-wide association studies in humans. To clarify a physiological importance of CDKAL1, we examined effects of a global Cdkal1-null mutation in mice and also evaluated the influence of a CDKAL1 risk allele on body mass index (BMI) in Japanese subjects.
In Cdkal1-deficient (Cdkal1−/−) mice, we performed oral glucose tolerance test, insulin tolerance test, and perfusion experiments with and without high-fat feeding. Based on the findings in mice, we tested genetic association of CDKAL1 variants with BMI, as a measure of adiposity, and type 2 diabetes in Japanese.
On a standard diet, Cdkal1−/− mice were modestly lighter in weight than wild-type littermates without major alterations in glucose metabolism. On a high fat diet, Cdkal1−/− mice showed significant reduction in fat accumulation (17% reduction in %intraabdominal fat, P = 0.023 vs. wild-type littermates) with less impaired insulin sensitivity at an early stage. High fat feeding did not potentiate insulin secretion in Cdkal1−/− mice (1.0-fold), contrary to the results in wild-type littermates (1.6-fold, P<0.01). Inversely, at a later stage, Cdkal1−/− mice showed more prominent impairment of insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance. mRNA expression analysis indicated that Scd1 might function as a critical mediator of the altered metabolism in Cdkal1−/− mice. In accordance with the findings in mice, a nominally significant (P<0.05) association between CDKAL1 rs4712523 and BMI was replicated in 2 Japanese general populations comprising 5,695 and 12,569 samples; the risk allele for type 2 diabetes was also associated with decreased BMI.
Cdkal1 gene deletion is accompanied by modestly impaired insulin secretion and longitudinal fluctuations in insulin sensitivity during high-fat feeding in mice. CDKAL1 may affect such compensatory mechanisms regulating glucose homeostasis through interaction with diet.
Elevated extracellular free fatty acids (FFAs) can induce pancreatic beta cell apoptosis, thereby contributing to the pathogenesis of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2D). Mitochondrial dysfunction has been implicated in FFA-induced beta cell apoptosis. However, molecular mechanisms linking mitochondrial dysfunction and FFA-induced beta cell apoptosis are not clear. Dynamin-related protein 1 (DRP-1) is a mitochondrial fission modulator. In this study, we investigated its role in FFA-induced INS-1 beta cell apoptosis. DRP-1 protein was promptly induced in INS-1 cells and rat islets after stimulation by FFAs, and this DRP-1 upregulation was accompanied by increased INS-1 cell apoptosis. Induction of DRP-1 expression significantly promoted FFA-induced apoptosis in DRP-1 WT (DRP-1 wild type) inducible INS-1-derived cell line, but not in DRP-1K38A (a dominant negative mutant of DRP-1) inducible INS-1-derived cell line. To validate these in vitro results, we transplanted DRP-1 WT or DRP-1 K38A cells into renal capsules of streptozotocin (STZ)-treated diabetic mice to study the apoptosis in xenografts. Consistent with the in vitro results, the over-expression of DRP-1 led to aggravated INS-1-derived cell apoptosis triggered by FFAs. In contrast, dominant-negative suppression of DRP-1 function as represented by DRP-1 K38A significantly prevented FFA-induced apoptosis in xenografts. It was further demonstrated that mitochondrial membrane potential decreased, while cytochrome c release, caspase-3 activation, and generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) were enhanced by the induction of DRP-1WT, but prevented by DRP-1 K38A in INS-1-derived cells under FFA stimulation. These results indicated that DRP-1 mediates FFA-induced INS-1-derived cell apoptosis, suggesting that suppression of DRP-1 is a potentially useful therapeutic strategy for protecting against beta cell loss that leads to type 2 diabetes.
Pancreatic islet endothelial cells have in recent years been shown to support beta-cell mass and function by paracrine interactions. Recently, we identified an islets endothelial-specific glycoprotein, thrombospondin-1 (TSP-1), that showed to be of importance for islet angiogenesis and beta-cell function in young mice. The present study aimed to investigate long-term consequences for islet morphology and beta-cell function of TSP-1 deficiency. Islet and beta-cell mass were observed increased at 10–12 weeks of age in TSP-1 deficient mice, but were normalized before 16 weeks of age when compared to wild-type controls. Islet vascularity was normal in 10–12 and 16-week-old TSP-1 deficient animals, whereas islets of one-year-old animals lacking TSP-1 were hypervascular. Beta-cell dysfunction in TSP-1 deficient animals was present at similar magnitudes between 10–12 and 52 weeks of age, as evaluated by glucose tolerance tests. The insulin secretion capacity in vivo of islets in one-year-old TSP-1 deficient animals was only ∼15% of that in wild-type animals. Using a transplantation model, we reconstituted TSP-1 in adult TSP-deficient islets. In contrast to neonatal TSP-1 deficient islets that we previously reported to regain function after TSP-1 reconstitution, adult islets failed to recover. We conclude that TSP-1 deficiency in islets causes changing vascular and endocrine morphological alterations postnatally, but is coupled to a chronic beta-cell dysfunction. The beta-cell dysfunction induced by TSP-1 deficiency is irreversible if not substituted early in life.
Polypyrimidine tract-binding protein 1 (PTBP1) promotes stability and translation of mRNAs coding for insulin secretion granule proteins and thereby plays a role in β-cells function. We studied whether common genetic variations within the PTBP1 locus influence insulin secretion, and/or proinsulin conversion.
We genotyped 1,502 healthy German subjects for four tagging single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) within the PTBP1 locus (rs351974, rs11085226, rs736926, and rs123698) covering 100% of genetic variation with an r2≥0.8. The subjects were metabolically characterized by an oral glucose tolerance test with insulin, proinsulin, and C-peptide measurements. A subgroup of 320 subjects also underwent an IVGTT.
PTBP1 SNP rs11085226 was nominally associated with lower insulinogenic index and lower cleared insulin response in the OGTT (p≤0.04). The other tested SNPs did not show any association with the analyzed OGTT-derived secretion parameters. In the IVGTT subgroup, SNP rs11085226 was accordingly associated with lower insulin levels within the first ten minutes following glucose injection (p = 0.0103). Furthermore, SNP rs351974 was associated with insulin levels in the IVGTT (p = 0.0108). Upon interrogation of MAGIC HOMA-B data, our rs11085226 result was replicated (MAGIC p = 0.018), but the rs351974 was not.
We conclude that common genetic variation in PTBP1 influences glucose-stimulated insulin secretion. This underlines the importance of PTBP1 for beta cell function in vivo.
Sex differences in obesity-induced complications such as type 2 diabetes have been reported. The aim of the study was to pinpoint the mechanisms resulting in different outcome of female and male mice on a high-fat diet (HFD). Mice fed control or HFD were monitored for weight, blood glucose, and insulin for 14 weeks. Circulating chemokines, islet endocrine function and blood flow, as well as adipose tissue populations of macrophages and regulatory T-lymphocytes (Treg) were thereafter assessed. Despite similar weight (43.8±1.0 and 40.2±1.5 g, respectively), male but not female mice developed hyperinsulinemia on HFD as previously described (2.5±0.7 and 0.5±0.1 pmol/l, respectively) consistent with glucose intolerance. Male mice also exhibited hypertrophic islets with intact function in terms of insulin release and blood perfusion. Low-grade, systemic inflammation was absent in obese female but present in obese male mice (IL-6 and mKC, males: 77.4±17 and 1795±563; females: 14.6±4.9 and 240±22 pg/ml), and the population of inflammatory macrophages was increased in intra-abdominal adipose tissues of high-fat-fed male but not female mice. In contrast, the anti-inflammatory Treg cell population increased in the adipose tissue of female mice in response to weight gain, while the number decreased in high-fat-fed male mice. In conclusion, female mice are protected against HFD-induced metabolic changes while maintaining an anti-inflammatory environment in the intra-abdominal adipose tissue with expanded Treg cell population, whereas HFD-fed male mice develop adipose tissue inflammation, glucose intolerance, hyperinsulinemia, and islet hypertrophy.
Chronic high glucose (HG) inflicts glucotoxicity on vulnerable cell types such as pancreatic β cells and contributes to insulin resistance and impaired insulin secretion in diabetic patients. To identify HG-induced cellular aberrations that are candidate mediators of glucotoxicity in pancreatic β cells, we analyzed gene expression in ERoSHK6, a mouse insulin-secreting cell line after chronic HG exposure (six-day exposure to 33.3 mM glucose). Chronic HG exposure which reduced glucose-stimulated insulin secretion (GSIS) increased transcript levels of 185 genes that clustered primarily in 5 processes namely cellular growth and proliferation; cell death; cellular assembly and organization; cell morphology; and cell-to-cell signaling and interaction. The former two were validated by increased apoptosis of ERoSHK6 cells after chronic HG exposure and reaffirmed the vulnerability of β cells to glucotoxicity. The three remaining processes were partially substantiated by changes in cellular morphology and structure, and instigated an investigation of the cytoskeleton and cell-cell adhesion. These studies revealed a depolymerized actin cytoskeleton that lacked actin stress fibers anchored at vinculin-containing focal adhesion sites as well as loss of E-cadherin-mediated cell-cell adherence after exposure to chronic HG, and were concomitant with constitutive ERK1/2 phosphorylation that was refractory to serum and glucose deprivation. Although inhibition of ERK phosphorylation by PD98059 promoted actin polymerization, it increased apoptosis and GSIS impairment. These findings suggest that ERK phosphorylation is a proximate regulator of cellular processes targeted by chronic HG-induced gene expression and that dynamic actin polymerization and depolymerization is important in β cell survival and function. Therefore, chronic HG alters gene expression and signal transduction to predispose the cytoskeleton towards apoptosis and GSIS impairment.
Diabetes is a disease of abnormal glucose homeostasis characterized by chronic hyperglycemia and a broad array of consequent organ damage. Because normal glucose homeostasis is maintained by a complex interaction between behavior (feeding and physical activity) and metabolic activity that is modulated by inter-organ signaling through secreted factors, disease modeling in vitro is necessarily limited. In contrast, in vivo studies allow complex metabolic phenotypes to be studied but present a barrier to high throughput studies. Here we present the development of a novel in vivo screening platform that addresses this primary limitation of in vivo experimentation. Our platform leverages the large secretory capacity of the liver and the hepatocyte transfection technique of hydrodynamic tail vein injection to achieve supraphysiologic blood levels of secreted proteins. To date, the utility of hydrodynamic transfection has been limited by the deleterious impact of the variable transfection efficiency inherent to this technique. We overcome this constraint by co-transfection of a secreted luciferase cDNA whose product can be easily monitored in the blood of a living animal and used as a surrogate marker for transfection efficiency and gene expression levels. To demonstrate the utility of our strategy, we screened 248 secreted proteins for the ability to enhance glucose tolerance. Surprisingly, interleukin-6 and several of its family members but not other well-recognized insulin sensitizing agents were identified as potent hypoglycemic factors. We propose this experimental system as a powerful and flexible in vivo screening platform for identifying genes that modulate complex behavioral and metabolic phenotypes.
Three p160 family members, p/CIP, SRC1, and TIF2, have been identified as transcriptional coactivators for nuclear hormone receptors and other transcription factors in vitro. In a previous study, we reported initial characterization of the obesity-resistant phenotypes of p/CIP and SRC-1 double knockout (DKO) mice, which exhibit increased energy expenditure, and suggested that nuclear hormone receptor target genes were involved in these phenotypes. In this study, we demonstrate that p/CIP and SRC1 control insulin signaling in a cell-autonomous manner both in vitro and in vivo. Genetic deletion of p/CIP and SRC-1 increases glucose uptake and enhances insulin sensitivity in both regular chow- and high fat diet-fed DKO mice despite increased food intake. Interestingly, we discover that loss of p/CIP and SRC-1 results in resistance to age-related obesity and glucose intolerance. We show that expression levels of a key insulin signaling component, insulin receptor substrate 1 (IRS1), are significantly increased in two cell lines representing fat and muscle lineages with p/CIP and SRC-1 deletions and in white adipose tissue and skeletal muscle of DKO mice; this may account for increased glucose metabolism and insulin sensitivity. This is the first evidence that the p160 coactivators control insulin signaling and glucose metabolism through IRS1. Therefore, our studies indicate that p/CIP and SRC-1 are potential therapeutic targets not only for obesity but also for diabetes.
Connexin36 (Cx36) plays an important role in insulin secretion by controlling the intercellular synchronization of Ca2+ transients induced during stimulation. The lack of drugs acting on Cx36 channels is a major limitation in further unraveling the molecular mechanism underlying this effect. To screen for such drugs, we have developed an assay allowing for a semi-automatic, fluorimetric quantification of Ca2+ transients in large populations of MIN6 cells. Here, we show that (1) compared to control cells, MIN6 cells with reduced Cx36 expression or function showed decreased synchrony of glucose-induced Ca2+ oscillations; (2) glibenclamide, a sulphonylurea which promotes Cx36 junctions and coupling, increased the number of synchronous MIN6 cells, whereas quinine, an antimalarial drug which inhibits Cx36-dependent coupling, decreased this proportion; (3) several drugs were identified that altered the intercellular Ca2+ synchronization, cell coupling and distribution of Cx36; (4) some of them also affected insulin content. The data indicate that the intercellular synchronization of Ca2+ oscillations provides a reliable and non-invasive measurement of Cx36-dependent coupling, which is useful to identify novel drugs affecting the function of β-cells, neurons, and neuron-related cells that express Cx36.
Glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP) is a gastrointestinal hormone that potentiates glucose-stimulated insulin secretion during a meal. Since GIP has also been shown to exert β-cell prosurvival and adipocyte lipogenic effects in rodents, both GIP receptor agonists and antagonists have been considered as potential therapeutics in type 2 diabetes (T2DM). In the present study, we tested the hypothesis that chronically elevating GIP levels in a transgenic (Tg) mouse model would increase adipose tissue expansion and exert beneficial effects on glucose homeostasis. In contrast, although GIP Tg mice demonstrated enhanced β-cell function, resulting in improved glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity, they exhibited reduced diet-induced obesity. Adipose tissue macrophage infiltration and hepatic steatosis were both greatly reduced, and a number of genes involved in lipid metabolism/inflammatory signaling pathways were found to be down-regulated. Reduced adiposity in GIP Tg mice was associated with decreased energy intake, involving overexpression of hypothalamic GIP. Together, these studies suggest that, in the context of over-nutrition, transgenic GIP overexpression has the potential to improve hepatic and adipocyte function as well as glucose homeostasis.
The chemokine receptor CXCR4 and ligand SDF-1α are expressed in fetal and adult mouse islets. Neutralization of CXCR4 has previously been shown to diminish ductal cell proliferation and increase apoptosis in the IFNγ transgenic mouse model in which the adult mouse pancreas displays islet regeneration. Here, we demonstrate that CXCR4 and SDF-1α are expressed in the human fetal pancreas and that during early gestation, CXCR4 colocalizes with neurogenin 3 (ngn3), a key transcription factor for endocrine specification in the pancreas. Treatment of islet like clusters (ICCs) derived from human fetal pancreas with SDF-1α resulted in increased proliferation of epithelial cells in ICCs without a concomitant increase in total insulin expression. Exposure of ICCs in vitro to AMD3100, a pharmacological inhibitor of CXCR4, did not alter expression of endocrine hormones insulin and glucagon, or the pancreatic endocrine transcription factors PDX1, Nkx6.1, Ngn3 and PAX4. However, a strong inhibition of β cell genesis was observed when in vitro AMD3100 treatment of ICCs was followed by two weeks of in vivo treatment with AMD3100 after ICC transplantation into mice. Analysis of the grafts for human C-peptide found that inhibition of CXCR4 activity profoundly inhibits islet development. Subsequently, a model pancreatic epithelial cell system (CFPAC-1) was employed to study the signals that regulate proliferation and apoptosis by the SDF-1α/CXCR4 axis. From a selected panel of inhibitors tested, both the PI 3-kinase and MAPK pathways were identified as critical regulators of CFPAC-1 proliferation. SDF-1α stimulated Akt phosphorylation, but failed to increase phosphorylation of Erk above the high basal levels observed. Taken together, these results indicate that SDF-1α/CXCR4 axis plays a critical regulatory role in the genesis of human islets.
Transplantation of human islets is an attractive alternative to daily insulin injections for patients with type 1 diabetes. However, the majority of islet recipients lose graft function within five years. Inflammation is a primary contributor to graft loss, and inhibiting pro-inflammatory cytokine activity can reverse inflammation mediated dysfunction of islet grafts. As mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) possess numerous immunoregulatory properties, we hypothesized that MSCs could protect human islets from pro-inflammatory cytokines. Five hundred human islets were co-cultured with 0.5 or 1.0×106 human MSCs derived from bone marrow or pancreas for 24 hours followed by 48 hour exposure to interferon-γ, tumor necrosis factor-α and interleukin 1β. Controls include islets cultured alone (± cytokines) and with human dermal fibroblasts (± cytokines). For all conditions, glucose stimulated insulin secretion (GSIS), total islet cellular insulin content, islet β cell apoptosis, and potential cytoprotective factors secreted in the culture media were determined. Cytokine exposure disrupted human islet GSIS based on stimulation index and percentage insulin secretion. Conversely, culture with 1.0×106 bMSCs preserved GSIS from cytokine treated islets. Protective effects were not observed with fibroblasts, indicating that preservation of human islet GSIS after exposure to pro-inflammatory cytokines is MSC dependent. Islet β cell apoptosis was observed in the presence of cytokines; however, culture of bMSCs with islets prevented β cell apoptosis after cytokine treatment. Hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) as well as matrix metalloproteinases 2 and 9 were also identified as putative secreted cytoprotective factors; however, other secreted factors likely play a role in protection. This study, therefore, demonstrates that MSCs may be beneficial for islet engraftment by promoting cell survival and reduced inflammation.
Many molecular and cellular abnormalities detected in the diabetic retina support a role for IL-1β-driven neuroinflammation in the pathogenesis of diabetic retinopathy. IL-1β is well known for its role in the induction and, through autostimulation, amplification of neuroinflammation. Upregulation of IL-1β has been consistently detected in the diabetic retina; however, the mechanisms and cellular source of IL-1β overexpression are poorly understood. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of high glucose and IL-1β itself on IL-1β expression in microglial, macroglial (astrocytes and Müller cells) and retinal vascular endothelial cells; and to study the effect of diabetes on the expression of IL-1β in isolated retinal vessels and on the temporal pattern of IL-1β upregulation and glial reactivity in the retina of streptozotocin-diabetic rats. IL-1β was quantified by RealTime RT-PCR and ELISA, glial fibrillar acidic protein, α2-macroglobulin, and ceruloplasmin by immunoblotting. We found that high glucose induced a 3-fold increase of IL-1β expression in retinal endothelial cells but not in macroglia and microglia. IL-1β induced its own synthesis in endothelial and macroglial cells but not in microglia. In retinal endothelial cells, the high glucose-induced IL-1β overexpression was prevented by calphostin C, a protein kinase C inhibitor. The retinal vessels of diabetic rats showed increased IL-1β expression as compared to non-diabetic rats. Retinal expression of IL-1β increased early after the induction of diabetes, continued to increase with progression of the disease, and was temporally associated with upregulation of markers of glial activation. These findings point to hyperglycemia as the trigger and to the endothelium as the origin of the initial retinal upregulation of IL-1β in diabetes; and to IL-1β itself, via autostimulation in endothelial and macroglial cells, as the mechanism of sustained IL-1β overexpression. Interrupting the vicious circle triggered by IL-1β autostimulation could limit the progression of diabetic retinopathy.
The Nuclear Receptor 2F2 (NR2F2/COUP-TFII) heterozygous knockout mice display low basal insulinemia and enhanced insulin sensitivity. We previously established that insulin represses NR2F2 gene expression in pancreatic β-cells. The cis-regulatory region of the NR2F2 promoter is unknown and its influence on metabolism in humans is poorly understood. The present study aimed to identify the regulatory regions that control NR2F2 gene transcription and to evaluate the effect of NR2F2 promoter variation on glucose homeostasis in humans.
Regulation of the NR2F2 promoter was assessed using gene reporter assays, ChIP and gel shift experiments. The effects of variation at SNP rs3743462 in NR2F2 on quantitative metabolic traits were studied in two European prospective cohorts. We identified a minimal promoter region that down-regulates NR2F2 expression by attenuating HNF4α activation in response to high glucose concentrations. Subjects of the French DESIR population, who carried the rs3743462 T-to-C polymorphism, located in the distal glucose-responsive promoter, displayed lower basal insulin levels and lower HOMA-IR index. The C-allele at rs3743462 was associated with increased NR2F2 binding and decreased NR2F2 gene expression.
The rs3743462 polymorphism affects glucose-responsive NR2F2 promoter regulation and thereby may influence whole-body insulin sensitivity, suggesting a role of NR2F2 in the control of glucose homeostasis in humans.
The pancreatic beta cell is unique in its response to nutrient by increased fuel oxidation. Recent studies have demonstrated that oxygen consumption rate (OCR) may be a valuable predictor of islet quality and long term nutrient responsiveness. To date, high-throughput and user-friendly assays for islet respiration are lacking. The aim of this study was to develop such an assay and to examine bioenergetic efficiency of rodent and human islets.
The XF24 respirometer platform was adapted to islets by the development of a 24-well plate specifically designed to confine islets. The islet plate generated data with low inter-well variability and enabled stable measurement of oxygen consumption for hours. The F1F0 ATP synthase blocker oligomycin was used to assess uncoupling while rotenone together with myxothiazol/antimycin was used to measure the level of non-mitochondrial respiration. The use of oligomycin in islets was validated by reversing its effect in the presence of the uncoupler FCCP. Respiratory leak averaged to 59% and 49% of basal OCR in islets from C57Bl6/J and FVB/N mice, respectively. In comparison, respiratory leak of INS-1 cells and C2C12 myotubes was measured to 38% and 23% respectively. Islets from a cohort of human donors showed a respiratory leak of 38%, significantly lower than mouse islets.
The assay for islet respiration presented here provides a novel tool that can be used to study islet mitochondrial function in a relatively high-throughput manner. The data obtained in this study shows that rodent islets are less bioenergetically efficient than human islets as well as INS1 cells.