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Free access

Ruben Rodriguez, Jacqueline N Minas, Jose Pablo Vazquez-Medina, Daisuke Nakano, David G Parkes, Akira Nishiyama, and Rudy M Ortiz

Obesity is associated with the inappropriate activation of the renin-angiotensin system (RAS), which increases arterial pressure, impairs insulin secretion and decreases peripheral tissue insulin sensitivity. RAS blockade reverses these detriments; however, it is not clear whether the disease state of the organism and treatment duration determine the beneficial effects of RAS inhibition on insulin secretion and insulin sensitivity. Therefore, the objective of this study was to compare the benefits of acute vs chronic angiotensin receptor type 1 (AT1) blockade started after the onset of obesity, hyperglycemia and hypertension on pancreatic function and peripheral insulin resistance. We assessed adipocyte morphology, glucose intolerance, pancreatic redox balance and insulin secretion after 2 and 11 weeks of AT1 blockade in the following groups of rats: (1) untreated Long-Evans Tokushima Otsuka (lean control; n = 10), (2) untreated Otsuka Long-Evans Tokushima Fatty (OLETF; n = 12) and (3) OLETF + ARB (ARB; 10 mg olmesartan/kg/day by oral gavage; n = 12). Regardless of treatment duration, AT1 blockade decreased systolic blood pressure and fasting plasma triglycerides, whereas chronic AT1 blockade decreased fasting plasma glucose, glucose intolerance and the relative abundance of large adipocytes by 22, 36 and 70%, respectively. AT1 blockade, however, did not improve pancreatic oxidative stress or reverse impaired insulin secretion. Collectively, these data show that AT1 blockade after the onset of obesity, hyperglycemia and hypertension improves peripheral tissue insulin sensitivity, but cannot completely reverse the metabolic derangement characterized by impaired insulin secretion once it has been compromised.

Free access

Andreas Börjesson and Carina Carlsson

In order to elucidate a possible relationship between β-cell function and conversion of proinsulin to insulin, isolated rat pancreatic islets were maintained in tissue culture for 1 week at various glucose concentrations (5.6–56 mM). Studies were also conducted on islets cultured for 48 h with interleukin-1β (IL-1β). By pulse-chase labelling and immunoprecipitation, the relative contents of newly synthesized proinsulin and insulin were determined. ELISA was used to analyse insulin and proinsulin content in medium and within islets. Using real-time PCR, the mRNA levels of proinsulin converting enzymes (PC1 and PC2) were studied. Islets cultured at 56 mM glucose had an increased proportion of newly synthesized proinsulin when compared with islets cultured at 5.6 mM glucose after a 90-min chase periods, however, no difference was observed after culture at 11 and 28 mM glucose. ELISA measurements revealed that culture at increased glucose concentrations as well as islet exposure to IL-1β increased proinsulin accumulation in the culture media. The mRNA expression of PC1 was increased after culture at 11 and 28 mM glucose. Treatment for 48 h with IL-1β increased the proportion of proinsulin both at 45 and 90 min when compared with control islets. These islets also displayed a decreased mRNA level of PC1 as well as PC2. Calculations of the half-time for proinsulin demonstrated a significant prolongation after treatment with IL-1β. We conclude that a sustained functional stimulation by glucose of islets is coupled to a decreased conversion of proinsulin which is also true for islets treated with IL-1β. This may contribute to the elevated levels of proinsulin found both at the onset of type 1 diabetes as well as in type 2 diabetes.

Free access

A Alidibbiat, C E Marriott, K T Scougall, S C Campbell, G C Huang, W M Macfarlane, and J A M Shaw

Generation of new β-cells from the adult pancreas or the embryonic stem cells is being pursued by research groups worldwide. Success will be dependent on confirmation of true β-cell phenotype evidenced by capacity to process and store proinsulin. The aim of these studies was to robustly determine endocrine characteristics of the AR42J rat pancreatic acinar cell line before and after in vitro transdifferentiation. β-cell phenotypic marker expression was characterised by RT-PCR, immunostaining, western blotting, ELISA and in human preproinsulin transgene over-expression studies in wild-type AR42J cells and after culture on Matrigel basement membrane matrix with and without growth/differentiation factor supplementation. Pancreatic duodenal homeobox 1 (PDX1), forkhead box transcription factor a2 (Foxa2), glucokinase, pancreatic polypeptide and low-level insulin gene transcription in wild-type AR42J cells were confirmed by RT-PCR. Culture on Matrigel-coated plates and supplementation of medium with glucagon-like peptide 1 induced expression of the β-cell Glut 2 with maintained expression of insulin and PDX1. Increased biosynthesis and secretion of proinsulin were confirmed by immunocytochemical staining and sensitive ELISA. Absence of the regulated secretory pathway was demonstrated by undetectable prohormone convertase expression. In addition, inability to process and store endogenous proinsulin or human proinsulin translated from a constitutively over-expressed preproinsulin transgene was confirmed. The importance of robust phenotypic characterisation at the protein level in attempted β-cell transdifferentiation studies has been confirmed. Rodent and human sensitive/specific differential proinsulin/insulin ELISA in combination with human preproinsulin over-expression enables detailed elucidatation of core endocrine functions of proinsulin processing and storage in putative new β-cells.

Free access

Wenpeng Dong, Ye Jia, Xiuxia Liu, Huan Zhang, Tie Li, Wenlin Huang, Xudong Chen, Fuchun Wang, Weixia Sun, and Hao Wu

Oxidative stress contributes to the pathogenesis of diabetic nephropathy (DN). Nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (NRF2) plays a key role in cellular defense against oxidative stress. NRF2 activators have shown promising preventive effects on DN. Sodium butyrate (NaB) is a known activator of NRF2. However, it is unknown whether NRF2 is required for NaB protection against DN. Therefore, streptozotocin-induced diabetic C57BL/6 Nrf2 knockout and their wild-type mice were treated in the presence or absence of NaB for 20 weeks. Diabetic mice, but not NaB-treated diabetic mice, developed significant renal oxidative damage, inflammation, apoptosis, fibrosis, pathological changes and albuminuria. NaB inhibited histone deacetylase (HDAC) activity and elevated the expression of Nrf2 and its downstream targets heme oxygenase 1 and NAD(P)H dehydrogenase quinone 1. Notably, deletion of the Nrf2 gene completely abolished NaB activation of NRF2 signaling and protection against diabetes-induced renal injury. Interestingly, the expression of Kelch-like ECH-associated protein 1, the negative regulator of NRF2, was not altered by NaB under both diabetic and non-diabetic conditions. Moreover, NRF2 nuclear translocation was not promoted by NaB. Therefore, the present study indicates, for the first time, that NRF2 plays a key role in NaB protection against DN. Other findings suggest that NaB may activate Nrf2 at the transcriptional level, possibly by the inhibition of HDAC activity.

Free access

RH McCusker and J Novakofski

Zinc (Zn(2+)), a multifunctional micronutrient, was recently shown to lower the affinity of cell-associated insulin-like growth factor (IGF) binding protein (IGFBP)-3 and IGFBP-5 for both IGF-I and IGF-II, but to increase the affinity of the cell surface type 1 IGF receptor (IGF-1R) for the same two ligands. However, there is a need for data concerning the effects of Zn(2+) on soluble IGFBPs and the type 2 IGF receptor (IGF-2R). In the current work, we demonstrate that Zn(2+) affects the affinity of IGFBP-5 secreted by myoblasts but not IGFBP-4. Zn(2+), at physiological levels, depressed binding of both IGF-I and IGF-II to IGFBP-5, affecting (125)I-IGF-I more than (125)I-IGF-II. Both (125)I-IGF-I and (125)I-IGF-II bound to high and low affinity sites on IGFBP-5. Zn(2+) converted the high affinity binding sites of IGFBP-5 into low affinity binding sites. An IGF-I analog, (125)I-R(3)-IGF-I, did not bind to the soluble murine IGFBP-5. Zn(2+) also decreased the affinity of the IGF-2R on L6 myoblasts. In contrast, Zn(2+) increased IGF-I, IGF-II and R(3)-IGF-I binding to the IGF-1R by increasing ligand binding affinity on both P(2)A(2a)-LISN and L6 myoblasts. Soluble IGFBP-5 and IGFBP-4 depressed the binding of (125)I-IGF-I and (125)I-IGF-II to the IGF-1R, but did not affect binding of (125)I-R(3)-IGF-I. By depressing the association of the IGFs with soluble IGFBP-5, Zn(2+) partitioned (125)I-IGF-I and (125)I-IGF-II from soluble IGFBP-5 onto cell surface IGF-1Rs. This effect is not seen when soluble L6-derived IGFBP-4 is present in extracellular fluids. We introduce a novel mechanism by which the trace micronutrient Zn(2+) may alter IGF distribution, i.e. Zn(2+) acts to increase IGF-1R binding at the expense of IGF binding to soluble IGFBP-5 and the IGF-2R.

Restricted access



Pieces of human foetal pancreas were incubated under control conditions and in media containing different stimuli of insulin release. Insulin secretion was stimulated from the pancreases of foetuses (83–625 g body weight) which were of 16–24 weeks gestational age. Potassium (60 mmol/l), barium (2·54 mmol/l) and ouabain (10−5 mol/l) were effective stimuli in all experiments. Glucagon (5 μg/ml), theophylline (1 mmol/l) and dibutyryl 3′,5′-cyclic adenosine monophosphate (1 mmol/l) stimulated insulin secretion in media containing 0, 0·6 or 3·0 mg glucose/ml. Theophylline and dibutyryl 3′,5′-cyclic adenosine monophosphate were effective in all experients and glucagon stimulated insulin release in four out of six experiments. At all ages studied, histological examination of the pancreas after each experiment revealed islets of Langerhans containing β cells. In most cases the islets were of the mantle type but occasionally bipolar islets were seen. Cellular normality, as judged by light microscopy, was preserved after periods of incubation for up to 5½ h. Glycogen was demonstrable in the pancreatic acinar tissue but not in the islets.

The results of these experiments indicate that, between the 16th and 24th week of foetal life, the human β cell is capable of releasing insulin in vitro when stimulated appropriately.

Free access

Sanhua Leng, Wenshuo Zhang, Yanbin Zheng, Ziva Liberman, Christopher J Rhodes, Hagit Eldar-Finkelman, and Xiao Jian Sun

High glucose (HG) has been shown to induce insulin resistance in both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. However, the molecular mechanism behind this phenomenon is unknown. Insulin receptor substrate (IRS) proteins are the key signaling molecules that mediate insulin's intracellular actions. Genetic and biological studies have shown that reductions in IRS1 and/or IRS2 protein levels are associated with insulin resistance. In this study we have shown that proteasome degradation of IRS1, but not of IRS2, is involved in HG-induced insulin resistance in Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells as well as in primary hepatocytes. To further investigate the molecular mechanism by which HG induces insulin resistance, we examined various molecular candidates with respect to their involvement in the reduction in IRS1 protein levels. In contrast to the insulin-induced degradation of IRS1, HG-induced degradation of IRS1 did not require IR signaling or phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase/Akt activity. We have identified glycogen synthase kinase 3β (GSK3β or GSK3B as listed in the MGI Database) as a kinase required for HG-induced serine332 phosphorylation, ubiquitination, and degradation of IRS1. Overexpression of IRS1 with mutation of serine332 to alanine partially prevents HG-induced IRS1 degradation. Furthermore, overexpression of constitutively active GSK3β was sufficient to induce IRS1 degradation. Our data reveal the molecular mechanism of HG-induced insulin resistance, and support the notion that activation of GSK3β contributes to the induction of insulin resistance via phosphorylation of IRS1, triggering the ubiquitination and degradation of IRS1.

Restricted access

P. J. Miettinen, T. Otonkoski, and R. Voutilainen


To understand the development of the human pancreas better, we studied the expression and regulation of insulin, insulin-like growth factor-II (IGF-II) and transforming growth factor-α (TGF-α) genes in the human fetal pancreas and islet-like cell clusters (ICC) from the second trimester human fetuses. Northern blot analysis revealed an abundant expression of IGF-II, insulin and TGF-α mRNAs in the intact pancreas and the cultured ICCs. Furthermore, transcripts for insulin receptor, type-1 and -2 IGF receptors, and GH receptor could be amplified by polymerase chain reaction analysis from the pancreas and the ICCs. With in-situ hybridization, IGF-II mRNA was found in abundance in both the exocrine and endocrine pancreas, exceeding the amount of insulin mRNA. In ICCs, insulin mRNA-containing cells were present as small clusters in the periphery and in the centre of the clusters corresponding to the immunolocation of insulin. The ICCs also contained many epidermal growth factor-, insulin- and type-1 IGF receptor- and TGF-α-positive cells.

When the ICCs were cultured in the presence of various secretagogues, only dibutyryl cyclic AMP was found to up-regulate insulin mRNA (39%; P < 0·05). IGF-II mRNA was also under cyclic AMP-dependent regulation (threefold increase; P = 0·025). Furthermore, blocking the type-1 IGF receptor with a monoclonal receptor antibody drastically reduced insulin expression (87%; P = 0·005) and additionally down-regulated IGF-II mRNA (49%; P = 0·005). IGF-1, IGF-II, TGF-α or epidermal growth factor-receptor antibody had no significant effect on either insulin or IGF-II mRNA. Exogenous TGF-α inhibited the release of insulin by the ICCs. It was concluded that IGF-II and TGF-α may be involved in the regulation of islet growth and differentiation.

Journal of Endocrinology (1993) 138, 127–136

Restricted access

T Matsumoto, S E Gargosky, Y Oh, and R G Rosenfeld


The aim of this study was to assess the regulation of insulin-like growth factor-binding proteins (IGFBPs) by IGFs in primary cultures of rat articular chondrocytes (RAC). Employing Western ligand blotting, immunoprecipitation and Northern blot analysis, RAC were found to secrete IGFBP-5 (29 kDa) and IGFBP-4 (24 kDa) as the predominant IGFBPs, as well as IGFBP-2 (32–30 kDa) and IGFBP-3 (43–39 kDa) as the minor species. Treatment of cells with IGF-I and IGF-II resulted in a dose-dependent increase of IGFBP-5 and a small increase in IGFBP-4 in conditioned media (CM). Des(1–3) IGF-I and [Gln6, Ala7,Tyr18, Leu19] IGF-II ([QAYL] IGF-II), which bind to the type 1 IGF receptor but not to IGFBPs, also induced IGFBP-5 peptide, although the increase was less than with IGF-I or IGF-II treatment of RAC. [Leu27] IGF-II, which does not bind to the type 1 IGF receptor but binds to IGFBPs, resulted in little induction of IGFBP-5, while [QAYL-Leu27] IGF-II, which has reduced affinity for both the type 1 IGF receptor and IGFBPs, did not increase IGFBP-5. These data suggest that the increase in IGFBP-5 in CM is modulated by both the type 1 IGF receptor and the interaction between IGFs and IGFBPs. Northern blotting analysis showed that IGF-I, IGF-II and des(1–3) IGF-I treatment of RAC increased steady state levels of IGFBP-5 mRNA, suggesting that the IGF-mediated increase in IGFBP-5 is transcriptionally modulated. Interestingly, the increase in IGFBP-5 peptide levels and mRNA were not parallel, suggesting the possibility of post-translational modifications of IGFBP-5, such as those seen with IGFBP-5 protease. IGFBP-5 protease activity was detectable in untreated CM, whereas treatment with IGF-I and IGF-II partially protected IGFBP-5 from proteolysis. In summary, treatment of RAC with IGF-I and IGF-II results in dose-dependent increases in both IGFBP-5 peptide in the CM and mRNA levels. These changes are mediated by interactions via the type 1 IGF receptor as well as IGFBPs, both transcriptionally and post-translationally.

Journal of Endocrinology (1996) 148, 355–369

Open access

K E Lines, P J Newey, C J Yates, M Stevenson, R Dyar, G V Walls, M R Bowl, and R V Thakker

Multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 (MEN1) is an autosomal dominant disorder characterised by the combined occurrence of parathyroid, pituitary and pancreatic islet tumours, and is due to mutations of the MEN1 gene, which encodes the tumour suppressor protein menin. Menin has multiple roles in genome stability, transcription, cell division and proliferation, but its mechanistic roles in tumourigenesis remain to be fully elucidated. miRNAs are non-coding single-stranded RNAs that post-transcriptionally regulate gene expression and have been associated with tumour development, although the contribution of miRNAs to MEN1-associated tumourigenesis and their relationship with menin expression are not fully understood. Alterations in miRNA expression, including downregulation of three putative ‘tumour suppressor’ miRNAs, miR-15a, miR-16-1 and let-7a, have been reported in several tumour types including non-MEN1 pituitary adenomas. We have therefore investigated the expression of miR-15a, miR-16-1 and let-7a in pituitary tumours that developed after 12 months of age in female mice with heterozygous knockout of the Men1 gene (Men1 +/ mice). The miRNAs miR-15a, miR-16-1 and let-7a were significantly downregulated in pituitary tumours (by 2.3-fold, P < 0.05; 2.1-fold P < 0.01 and 1.6-fold P < 0.05, respectively) of Men1 +/ mice, compared to normal WT pituitaries. miR-15a and miR-16-1 expression inversely correlated with expression of cyclin D1, a known pro-tumourigenic target of these miRNAs, and knockdown of menin in a human cancer cell line (HeLa), and AtT20 mouse pituitary cell line resulted in significantly decreased expression of miR-15a (P < 0.05), indicating that the decrease in miR-15a may be a direct result of lost menin expression.