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Haijiang Wu, Xinna Deng, Yonghong Shi, Ye Su, Jinying Wei, and Huijun Duan

Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) is a chronic disease characterized by glucose metabolic disturbance. A number of transcription factors and coactivators are involved in this process. Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma coactivator 1 alpha (PGC-1α) is an important transcription coactivator regulating cellular energy metabolism. Accumulating evidence has indicated that PGC-1α is involved in the regulation of T2DM. Therefore, a better understanding of the roles of PGC-1α may shed light on more efficient therapeutic strategies. Here, we review the most recent progress on PGC-1α and discuss its regulatory network in major glucose metabolic tissues such as the liver, skeletal muscle, pancreas and kidney. The significant associations between PGC-1α polymorphisms and T2DM are also discussed in this review.

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Bernard Khoo and Tricia Mei-Mei Tan

Obesity represents an important public health challenge for the twenty-first century: globalised, highly prevalent and increasingly common with time, this condition is likely to reverse some of the hard-won gains in mortality accomplished in previous centuries. In the search for safe and effective therapies for obesity and its companion, type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2D), the gut hormone glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) has emerged as a forerunner and analogues thereof are now widely used in treatment of obesity and T2D, bringing proven benefits in improving glycaemia and weight loss and, notably, cardiovascular outcomes. However, GLP-1 alone is subject to limitations in terms of efficacy, and as a result, investigators are evaluating other gut hormones such as glucose-dependent insulinotropic peptide (GIP), glucagon and peptide YY (PYY) as possible partner hormones that may complement and enhance GLP-1’s therapeutic effects. Such combination gut hormone therapies are in pharmaceutical development at present and are likely to make it to market within the next few years. This review examines the physiological basis for combination gut hormone therapy and presents the latest clinical results that underpin the excitement around these treatments. We also pose, however, some hard questions for the field which need to be answered before the full benefit of such treatments can be realised.

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SJ Fisher, ZQ Shi, HL Lickley, S Efendic, M Vranic, and A Giacca

At supraphysiological levels, IGF-I bypasses some forms of insulin resistance and has been proposed as a therapeutic agent in the treatment of diabetes. Unfortunately, side effects of high-dose IGF-I (100-250 microg/kg) have precluded its clinical use. Low-dose IGF-I (40-80 microg/kg), however, shows minimal side effects but has not been systematically evaluated. In our previous study under conditions of declining glucose, low-dose IGF-I infusion was more effective in stimulating glucose utilization, but less effective in suppressing glucose production and lipolysis than low-dose insulin. However, under conditions of hyperglycemia, we could not observe any differential effects between high-dose infusions of IGF-I and insulin. To determine whether the differential effects of IGF-I and insulin are dose-related or related to the prevailing glucose level, 3 h glucose clamps were performed in the same animal model as in the previous studies, i.e. the moderately hyperglycemic (175 mg/dl) insulin-infused depancreatized dog, with additional infusions of low-dose IGF-I (67.8 microg/kg, i.e. 29.1 microg/kg bolus plus 0.215 microg/kg( )per min infusion; n=5) or insulin 49.5 mU/kg (9 mU/kg bolus plus 0.45 mU/kg per min; n=7). As in the previous study under conditions of declining glucose, low-dose IGF-I had significant metabolic effects in vivo, in our model of complete absence of endogenous insulin secretion. Glucose production was similarly suppressed with both IGF-I and insulin, by 54+/-3 and 56+/-2% s.e. (P=NS) respectively. Glucose utilization was stimulated to the same extent (IGF-I 5.2+/-0.2, insulin 5.5+/-0.3 mg/kg per min, P=NS). Glucagon, free fatty acid, glycerol, alanine and beta-hydroxybutyrate, were suppressed, while lactate and pyruvate levels were raised, similarly with IGF-I and insulin. We conclude that: (i) differential effects of IGF-I and insulin may be masked under hyperglycemic conditions, independent of the hormone dose; (ii) low-dose IGF-I has no selective advantage over additional insulin in suppressing glucose production and lipolysis, nor in stimulating glucose utilization during hyperglycemia and subbasal insulin infusion when insulin secretion is absent, as in type 1 diabetes mellitus.

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WW Lin and AM Oberbauer

IGF-I acts as a local proliferation and maturation factor for chondrocytes in the growth plate. However, the expression of different alternative IGF-I mRNA classes in the growth plate has not been characterized. Using quantitative reverse transcription PCR, the abundance of each alternative IGF-I mRNA class in resting, proliferative and hypertrophic chondrocytes was measured in rat costochondral growth plates. Class 1Ea mRNA was the most abundant IGF-I transcript overall and was highly expressed in proliferative chondrocytes at 2 and 4 weeks of age; by 6 weeks, the majority of 1Ea mRNA expression had shifted to hypertrophic chondrocytes. Class 1Eb mRNA was the second most abundant transcript and its distribution was uniform across all the cell types at 2 weeks of age. The expression pattern changed with increasing age such that at 6 weeks a gradient existed with hypertrophic chondrocytes expressing higher levels of 1Eb than resting chondrocytes. Class 2Ea mRNA was constitutively expressed at low levels across the growth plate at all ages, while class 2Eb mRNA expression was negligible. The distribution of total IGF-I mRNA also shifted across growth plate cell types as the animals aged from 2 to 6 weeks. These findings suggest that IGF-I class 1 mRNA plays the predominant role in the maturation of the growth plate.

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Haiyong Chen, Hui-Yao Lan, Dimitrios H Roukos, and William C Cho

MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small molecules negatively regulating gene expression by diminishing their target mRNAs. Emerging studies have shown that miRNAs play diverse roles in diabetes mellitus. Type 1 diabetes (T1D) and T2D are two major types of diabetes. T1D is characterized by a reduction in insulin release from the pancreatic β-cells, while T2D is caused by islet β-cell dysfunction in response to insulin resistance. This review describes the miRNAs that control insulin release and production by regulating cellular membrane electrical excitability (ATP:ADP ratio), insulin granule exocytosis, insulin synthesis in β-cells, and β-cell fate and islet mass formation. This review also examines miRNAs involved the insulin resistance of liver, fat, and skeletal muscle, which change insulin sensitivity pathways (insulin receptors, glucose transporter type 4, and protein kinase B pathways). This review discusses the potential application of miRNAs in diabetes, including the use of gene therapy and therapeutic compounds to recover miRNA function in diabetes, as well as the role of miRNAs as potential biomarkers for T1D and T2D.

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M G Cavallo, F Dotta, L Monetini, S Dionisi, M Previti, L Valente, A Toto, U Di Mario, and P Pozzilli


In the present study we have evaluated the expression of different beta-cell markers, islet molecules and autoantigens relevant in diabetes autoimmunity by a human insulinoma cell line (CM) in order to define its similarities with native beta cells and to discover whether it could be considered as a model for studies on immunological aspects of Type 1 diabetes.

First, the positivity of the CM cell line for known markers of neuroendocrine derivation was determined by means of immunocytochemical analysis using different anti-islet monoclonal antibodies including A2B5 and 3G5 reacting with islet gangliosides, and HISL19 binding to an islet glycoprotein. Secondly, the expression and characteristics of glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD) and of GM2-1 ganglioside, both known to be islet autoantigens in diabetes autoimmunity and expressed by human native beta cells, were investigated in the CM cell line. The pattern of ganglioside expression in comparison to that of native beta cells was also evaluated. Thirdly, the binding of diabetic sera to CM cells reacting with islet cytoplasmic antigens (ICA) was studied by immunohistochemistry. The results of this study showed that beta cell markers identified by anti-islet monoclonal antibodies A2B5, 3G5 and HISL-19 are expressed by CM cells; similarly, islet molecules such as GAD and GM2-1 ganglioside are present and possess similar characteristics to those found in native beta cells; the pattern of expression of other gangliosides by CM cells is also identical to human pancreatic islets; beta cell autoantigen(s) reacting with antibodies present in islet cell antibodies (ICA) positive diabetic sera identified by ICA binding are also detectable in this insulinoma cell line.

We conclude that CM cells show close similarities to native beta cells with respect to the expression of neuroendocrine markers, relevant beta cell autoantigens in Type 1 diabetes (GAD, GM2-1, ICA antigen), and other gangliosides. Therefore, this insulinoma cell line may be considered as an ideal model for studies aimed at investigating autoimmune phenomena occurring in Type 1 diabetes.

Journal of Endocrinology (1996) 150, 113–120

Free access

Andréa M Caricilli, Paula H Nascimento, José R Pauli, Daniela M L Tsukumo, Lício A Velloso, José B Carvalheira, and Mário J A Saad

The aims of the present study were to investigate the expression of toll-like receptor 2 (TLR2) in muscle and white adipose tissue (WAT) of diet-induced obesity (DIO) mice, and also the effects of its inhibition, with the use of TLR2 antisense oligonucleotide (ASON), on insulin sensitivity and signaling. The expression of TLR2 was increased in muscle and WAT of DIO mice, compared with those that received standard chow. Inhibition of TLR2 in DIO mice, by TLR2 ASON, improved insulin sensitivity and signaling in muscle and WAT. In addition, data show that the inhibition of TLR2 expression prevents the activation of IKBKB, MAPK8, and serine phosphorylation of IRS1 in DIO mice, suggesting that TLR2 is a key modulator of the crosstalk between inflammatory and metabolic pathways. We, therefore, suggest that a selective interference with TLR2 presents an attractive opportunity for the treatment of insulin resistance in obesity and type 2 diabetes.

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D. Janjic and M. Asfari


To investigate further the role of cytokines in the pathogenesis of type I insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus, the effects of interleukin-1β (IL-1), tumour necrosis factor-α (TNF) and γ-interferon (IFN) were tested on rat insulinoma INS-1 cells. Whereas TNF and IFN had, respectively, a minor or no effect on insulin production, IL-1 caused a time- and dose-dependent decrease in insulin release and lowered the insulin content as well as the preproinsulin mRNA content of INS-1 cells. Both IL-1 and TNF exerted a cytostatic effect, estimated by a decrease in [3H]thymidine incorporation, while only IL-1 decreased cell viability as measured by the colorimetric 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT) test.

The glutathione content of INS-1 cells was shown to be modulated by the presence of 2-mercaptoethanol in the culture medium, but was not affected by IL-1 or TNF.

In conclusion, INS-1 cell culture is considered to be a useful model for studying the effect of cytokines on insulin-producing cells. The differentiated features of these cells will permit several questions to be addressed regarding the mechanism of action of IL-1 and eventually other cytokines, both at the level of gene expression and of intracellular signalling.

Journal of Endocrinology (1992) 132, 67–76

Free access

Xin-gang Yao, Xin Xu, Gai-hong Wang, Min Lei, Ling-ling Quan, Yan-hua Cheng, Ping Wan, Jin-pei Zhou, Jing Chen, Li-hong Hu, and Xu Shen

Impaired glucose-stimulated insulin secretion (GSIS) and increasing β-cell death are two typical dysfunctions of pancreatic β-cells in individuals that are destined to develop type 2 diabetes, and improvement of β-cell function through GSIS enhancement and/or inhibition of β-cell death is a promising strategy for anti-diabetic therapy. In this study, we discovered that the small molecule, N-(2-benzoylphenyl)-5-bromo-2-thiophenecarboxamide (BBT), was effective in both potentiating GSIS and protecting β-cells from cytokine- or streptozotocin (STZ)-induced cell death. Results of further studies revealed that cAMP/PKA and long-lasting (L-type) voltage-dependent Ca2+ channel/CaMK2 pathways were involved in the action of BBT against GSIS, and that the cAMP/PKA pathway was essential for the protective action of BBT on β-cells. An assay using the model of type 2 diabetic mice induced by high-fat diet combined with STZ (STZ/HFD) demonstrated that BBT administration efficiently restored β-cell functions as indicated by the increased plasma insulin level and decrease in the β-cell loss induced by STZ/HFD. Moreover, the results indicated that BBT treatment decreased fasting blood glucose and HbA1c and improved oral glucose tolerance further highlighting the potential of BBT in anti-hyperglycemia research.

Free access

James E Bowe, Zara J Franklin, Astrid C Hauge-Evans, Aileen J King, Shanta J Persaud, and Peter M Jones

The pathophysiology of diabetes as a disease is characterised by an inability to maintain normal glucose homeostasis. In type 1 diabetes, this is due to autoimmune destruction of the pancreatic β-cells and subsequent lack of insulin production, and in type 2 diabetes it is due to a combination of both insulin resistance and an inability of the β-cells to compensate adequately with increased insulin release. Animal models, in particular genetically modified mice, are increasingly being used to elucidate the mechanisms underlying both type 1 and type 2 diabetes, and as such the ability to study glucose homeostasis in vivo has become an essential tool. Several techniques exist for measuring different aspects of glucose tolerance and each of these methods has distinct advantages and disadvantages. Thus the appropriate methodology may vary from study to study depending on the desired end-points, the animal model, and other practical considerations. This review outlines the most commonly used techniques for assessing glucose tolerance in rodents and details the factors that should be taken into account in their use. Representative scenarios illustrating some of the practical considerations of designing in vivo experiments for the measurement of glucose homeostasis are also discussed.