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Free access

Shiying Shao, Yun Gao, Bing Xie, Fei Xie, Sai Kiang Lim and GuoDong Li

Shortage of cadaveric pancreata and requirement of immune suppression are two major obstacles in transplantation therapy of type 1 diabetes. Here, we investigate whether i.p. transplantation of alginate-encapsulated insulin-producing cells from the embryo-derived mouse embryo progenitor-derived insulin-producing-1 (MEPI-1) line could lower hyperglycemia in immune-competent, allogeneic diabetic mice. Within days after transplantation, hyperglycemia was reversed followed by about 2.5 months of normo- to moderate hypoglycemia before relapsing. Mice transplanted with unencapsulated MEPI cells relapsed within 2 weeks. Removal of the transplanted capsules by washing of the peritoneal cavity caused an immediate relapse of hyperglycemia that could be reversed with a second transplantation. The removed capsules had fibrotic overgrowth but remained permeable to 70 kDa dextrans and displayed glucose-stimulated insulin secretion. Following transplantation, the number of cells in capsules increased initially, before decreasing to below the starting cell number at 75 days. Histological examination showed that beyond day 40 post-transplantation, encapsulated cell clusters exhibited proliferating cells with a necrotic core. Blood glucose, insulin levels, and oral glucose tolerance test in the transplanted animals correlated directly with the number of viable cells remaining in the capsules. Our study demonstrated that encapsulation could effectively protect MEPI cells from the host immune system without compromising their ability to correct hyperglycemia in immune-competent diabetic mice for 2.5 months, thereby providing proof that immunoisolation of expansible but immune-incompatible stem cell-derived surrogate β-cells by encapsulation is a viable diabetes therapy.

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

Junhong Chen, Jing Sun, Michelle E Doscas, Jin Ye, Ashley J Williamson, Yanchun Li, Yi Li, Richard A Prinz and Xiulong Xu

p70 S6 kinase (S6K1) is a serine/threonine kinase that phosphorylates the insulin receptor substrate-1 (IRS-1) at serine 1101 and desensitizes insulin receptor signaling. S6K1 hyperactivation due to overnutrition leads to hyperglycemia and type 2 diabetes. Our recent study showed that A77 1726, the active metabolite of the anti-rheumatoid arthritis (RA) drug leflunomide, is an inhibitor of S6K1. Whether leflunomide can control hyperglycemia and sensitize the insulin receptor has not been tested. Here we report that A77 1726 increased AKTS473/T308 and S6K1T389 phosphorylation but decreased S6S235/236 and IRS-1S1101 phosphorylation in 3T3-L1 adipocytes, C2C12 and L6 myotubes. A77 1726 increased insulin receptor tyrosine phosphorylation and binding of the p85 subunit of the PI-3 kinase to IRS-1. A77 1726 enhanced insulin-stimulated glucose uptake in L6 myotubes and 3T3-L1 adipocytes, and enhanced insulin-stimulated glucose transporter type 4 (GLUT4) translocation to the plasma membrane of L6 cells. Finally, we investigated the anti-hyperglycemic effect of leflunomide on ob/ob and high-fat diet (HFD)-induced diabetes mouse models. Leflunomide treatment normalized blood glucose levels and overcame insulin resistance in glucose and insulin tolerance tests in ob/ob and HFD-fed mice but had no effect on mice fed a normal chow diet (NCD). Leflunomide treatment increased AKTS473/T308 phosphorylation in the fat and muscle of ob/ob mice but not in normal mice. Our results suggest that leflunomide sensitizes the insulin receptor by inhibiting S6K1 activity in vitro, and that leflunomide could be potentially useful for treating patients with both RA and diabetes.

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.

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.

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.

Restricted access

Ziping Jiang, Junduo Wu, Fuzhe Ma, Jun Jiang, Linlin Xu, Lei Du, Wenlin Huang, Zhaohui Wang, Ye Jia, Laijin Lu and Hao Wu

Over a half of the diabetic individuals develop macrovascular complications that cause high mortality. Oxidative stress (OS) promotes endothelial dysfunction (ED) which is a critical early step toward diabetic macrovascular complications. Nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (NRF2) is a master regulator of cellular antioxidant defense system and combats diabetes-induced OS. Previously, we found that impaired NRF2 antioxidant signaling contributed to diabetes-induced endothelial OS and dysfunction in mice. The present study has investigated the effect of microRNA-200a (miR-200a) on NRF2 signaling and diabetic ED. In aortic endothelial cells (ECs) isolated from C57BL/6 wild-type (WT) mice, high glucose (HG) reduced miR-200a levels and increased the expression of kelch-like ECH-associated protein 1 (Keap1) – a target of miR-200a and a negative regulator of NRF2. This led to the inactivation of NRF2 signaling and exacerbation of OS and inflammation. miR-200a mimic (miR-200a-M) or inhibitor modulated KEAP1/NRF2 antioxidant signaling and manipulated OS and inflammation under HG conditions. These effects were completely abolished by knockdown of Keap1, indicating that Keap1 mRNA is a major target of miR-200a. Moreover, the protective effect of miR-200a-M was completely abrogated in aortic ECs isolated from C57BL/6 Nrf2 knockout (KO) mice, demonstrating that NRF2 is required for miR-200a’s actions. In vivo, miR-200a-M inhibited aortic Keap1 expression, activated NRF2 signaling, and attenuated hyperglycemia-induced OS, inflammation and ED in the WT, but not Nrf2 KO, mice. Therefore, the present study has uncovered miR-200a/KEAP1/NRF2 signaling that controls aortic endothelial antioxidant capacity, which protects against diabetic ED.

Free access

Ghania Ramdani, Nadine Schall, Hema Kalyanaraman, Nisreen Wahwah, Sahar Moheize, Jenna J Lee, Robert L Sah, Alexander Pfeifer, Darren E Casteel and Renate B Pilz

NO/cGMP signaling is important for bone remodeling in response to mechanical and hormonal stimuli, but the downstream mediator(s) regulating skeletal homeostasis are incompletely defined. We generated transgenic mice expressing a partly-activated, mutant cGMP-dependent protein kinase type 2 (PKG2R242Q) under control of the osteoblast-specific Col1a1 promoter to characterize the role of PKG2 in post-natal bone formation. Primary osteoblasts from these mice showed a two- to three-fold increase in basal and total PKG2 activity; they proliferated faster and were resistant to apoptosis compared to cells from WT mice. Male Col1a1-Prkg2 R242Q transgenic mice had increased osteoblast numbers, bone formation rates and Wnt/β-catenin-related gene expression in bone and a higher trabecular bone mass compared to their WT littermates. Streptozotocin-induced type 1 diabetes suppressed bone formation and caused rapid bone loss in WT mice, but male transgenic mice were protected from these effects. Surprisingly, we found no significant difference in bone micro-architecture or Wnt/β-catenin-related gene expression between female WT and transgenic mice; female mice of both genotypes showed higher systemic and osteoblastic NO/cGMP generation compared to their male counterparts, and a higher level of endogenous PKG2 activity may be responsible for masking effects of the PKG2R242Q transgene in females. Our data support sexual dimorphism in Wnt/β-catenin signaling and PKG2 regulation of this crucial pathway in bone homeostasis. This work establishes PKG2 as a key regulator of osteoblast proliferation and post-natal bone formation.

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

Free access

R Wang, N Yashpal, F Bacchus and J Li

Hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) has been suggested to be a potent regulator of β-cell function and proliferation. The purpose of this study was to investigate whether HGF could regulate the proliferation and differentiation of islet-derived epithelial monolayers into insulin-producing cells. We have generated islet-derived epithelial monolayers that are enriched with cells expressing c-Kit, a tyrosine kinase receptor and putative marker, from isolated postnatal rat islets. Monolayers were cultured on type I collagen gel and treated in defined differentiation medium with or without HGF (50 ng/ml) for 7 days. Subsequently, the expression of transcription factors and pancreatic endocrine cell markers as well as c-Kit expression were compared between the HGF (HGF+), no HGF treatment (HGF) and monolayers without differentiation medium (control) groups, using immunocytochemical and RT-PCR approaches. We observed that the number of c-Kit-, glucose transport type 2 (Glut2)- and the transcription factor pancreatic duodenal homeobox-1 (PDX-1)-expressing cells were significantly increased in the HGF+ group. The expression of insulin at the mRNA and protein level was also increased in this treatment group with a 1.7-fold increase in basal insulin release and a 2.3-fold increase in insulin content in comparison with the HGF group. A high proliferative capacity was also found in the HGF+ group. Co-localization of insulin and PDX-1 or Glut2 was revealed frequently in cells treated with HGF+ with occasional co-staining of c-Kit and insulin observed. This study showed that HGF can activate the proliferation and differentiation of islet-derived epithelial monolayer into insulin-producing cells. However, no formation of islet-like clusters was observed. Taken together, this study implies that HGF mediates differentiation of immature cell types into insulin-expressing cells; however, HGF supplementation alone is insuffcient in restoring full β-cell function.