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Free access

L Monetini, F Barone, L Stefanini, A Petrone, T Walk, G Jung, R Thorpe, P Pozzilli and MG Cavallo

Enhanced cellular immune response to bovine beta-casein has been reported in patients with type 1 diabetes. In this study we aimed to establish beta-casein-specific T cell lines from newly diagnosed type 1 diabetic patients and to characterise these cell lines in terms of phenotype and epitope specificity. Furthermore, since sequence homologies exist between beta-casein and putative beta-cell autoantigens, reactivity to the latter was also investigated. T cell lines were generated from the peripheral blood of nine recent onset type 1 diabetic patients with different HLA-DQ and -DR genotypes, after stimulation with antigen pulsed autologous irradiated antigen presenting cells (APCs) and recombinant human interleukin-2 (rhIL-2). T cell line reactivity was evaluated in response to bovine beta-casein, to 18 overlapping peptides encompassing the whole sequence of beta-casein and to beta-cell antigens, including the human insulinoma cell line, CM, and a peptide from the beta-cell glucose transporter, GLUT-2. T cell lines specific to beta-casein could not be isolated from HLA-matched and -unmatched control subjects. beta-Casein T cell lines reacted to different sequences of the protein, however a higher frequency of T cell reactivity was observed towards the C-terminal portion (peptides B05-14, and B05-17 in 5/9 and 4/9 T cell lines respectively). Furthermore, we found that 1 out of 9 beta-casein-specific T cell lines reacted also to the homologous peptide from GLUT-2, and that 3 out of 4 of tested cell lines reacted also to extracts of the human insulinoma cell line, CM. We conclude that T cell lines specific to bovine beta-casein can be isolated from the peripheral blood of patients with type 1 diabetes; these cell lines react with multiple and different sequences of the protein particularly towards the C-terminal portion. In addition, reactivity of beta-casein T cell lines to human insulinoma extracts and GLUT-2 peptide was detected, suggesting that the potential cross-reactivity with beta-cell antigens deserves further investigation.

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.

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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

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Olena A Fedorenko, Pawitra Pulbutr, Elin Banke, Nneoma E Akaniro-Ejim, Donna C Bentley, Charlotta S Olofsson, Sue Chan and Paul A Smith

L-type channel antagonists are of therapeutic benefit in the treatment of hyperlipidaemia and insulin resistance. Our aim was to identify L-type voltage-gated Ca2+ channels in white fat adipocytes, and determine if they affect intracellular Ca2+, lipolysis and lipogenesis. We used a multidisciplinary approach of molecular biology, confocal microscopy, Ca2+ imaging and metabolic assays to explore this problem using adipocytes isolated from adult rat epididymal fat pads. CaV1.2, CaV1.3 and CaV1.1 alpha1, beta and alpha2delta subunits were detected at the gene expression level. The CaV1.2 and CaV1.3 alpha1 subunits were identified in the plasma membrane at the protein level. Confocal microscopy with fluorescent antibodies labelled CaV1.2 in the plasma membrane. Ca2+ imaging revealed that the intracellular Ca2+ concentration, [Ca2 +]i was reversibly decreased by removal of extracellular Ca2+, an effect mimicked by verapamil, nifedipine and Co2+, all blockers of L-type channels, whereas the Ca2+ channel agonist BAY-K8644 increased [Ca2+]i. The finding that the magnitude of these effects correlated with basal [Ca2+]i suggests that adipocyte [Ca2+]i is controlled by L-type Ca2+ channels that are constitutively active at the adipocyte depolarized membrane potential. Pharmacological manipulation of L-type channel activity modulated both basal and catecholamine-stimulated lipolysis but not insulin-induced glucose uptake or lipogenesis. We conclude that white adipocytes have constitutively active L-type Ca2+ channels which explains their sensitivity of lipolysis to Ca2+ channel modulators. Our data suggest CaV1.2 as a potential novel therapeutic target in the treatment of obesity.

Free access

Yoko Yagishita, Akira Uruno, Dionysios V Chartoumpekis, Thomas W Kensler and Masayuki Yamamoto

The transcription factor Nrf2 (NF-E2-related factor 2) plays a critical role in oxidative stress responses. Although activation of Nrf2 signaling is known to exert anti-inflammatory effects, the function of Nrf2 in inflammation-mediated autoimmune disorders, such as type 1 diabetes, is not well established. To address the roles of Nrf2 in protection against autoreactive T-cell-induced type 1 diabetes, we used non-obese diabetic (NOD) mice, which are a polygenic model of human type 1 diabetes, to generate a genetic model for assessment of the contribution of Nrf2 activation to prevention and/or treatment of type 1 diabetes. Because Keap1 (Kelch-like ECH-associated protein 1) negatively regulates Nrf2, we used Keap1 gene knockdown driven by either hypomorphic or knockout Keap1 alleles, which enhanced Nrf2 signaling to moderate or excess levels, respectively. Nrf2 activation in the NOD::Keap1 FA/ mice inhibited T-cell infiltration within or near the islets, ameliorated impairment of insulin secretion and prevented the development of diabetes mellitus. Notably, Nrf2 activation decreased both the plasma interferon-γ (IFN-γ) levels and the IFN-γ-positive cell numbers in the pancreatic islets. The amelioration of diabetes was also observed in the NOD mice with two hypomorphic Keap1 alleles (Keap1FA/FA) by intermediate activation of Nrf2. Both NOD::Keap1FA/ and NOD::Keap1FA/FA mice had a decreased incidence of diabetes mellitus, demonstrating that activation of Nrf2 signaling prevented the onset of type 1 diabetes mellitus in NOD mice. Thus, Nrf2 appears to be a potential target for the prevention and treatment of type 1 diabetes.

Free access

K Fosgerau, P Galle, T Hansen, A Albrechtsen, C de Lemos Rieper, B Klarlund Pedersen, L Kongskov Larsen, A Randrup Thomsen, O Pedersen, M Bagge Hansen and A Steensberg


Interleukin-6 (IL6) is critically involved in inflammation and metabolism. About 1% of people produce IL6 autoantibodies (aAb-IL6) that impair IL6 signaling in vivo. We tested the hypothesis that the prevalence of such aAb-IL6 is increased in type 2 diabetic patients and that aAb-IL6 plays a direct role in causing hyperglycemia. In humans, the prevalence of circulating high-affinity neutralizing aAb-IL6 was 2.5% in the type 2 diabetic patients and 1% in the controls (odds ratio 2.5, 95% confidence interval 1.2–4.9, P=0.01). To test for the role of aAb-IL6 in causing hyperglycemia, such aAb-IL6 were induced in mice by a validated vaccination procedure. Mice with plasma levels of aAb-IL6 similar to the 2.5% type 2 diabetic patients developed obesity and impaired glucose tolerance (area under the curve (AUC) glucose, 2056±62 vs 1793±62, P=0.05) as compared with sham-vaccinated mice, when challenged with a high-fat diet. Mice with very high plasma levels of aAb-IL6 developed elevated fasting plasma glucose (mM, 4.8±0.4 vs 3.3±0.1, P<0.001) and impaired glucose tolerance (AUC glucose, 1340±38 vs 916±25, P<0.001) as compared with sham-control mice on normal chow. In conclusion, the prevalence of plasma aAb-IL6 at levels known to impair IL6 signaling in vivo is increased 2.5-fold in people with type 2 diabetes. In mice, matching levels of aAb-IL6 cause obesity and hyperglycemia. These data suggest that a small subset of type 2 diabetes may in part evolve from an autoimmune attack against IL6.

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Kanta Kon, Hiroshi Tsuneki, Hisakatsu Ito, Yoshinori Takemura, Kiyofumi Sato, Mitsuaki Yamazaki, Yoko Ishii, Masakiyo Sasahara, Assaf Rudich, Takahiro Maeda, Tsutomu Wada and Toshiyasu Sasaoka

Disrupted sleep is associated with increased risk of type 2 diabetes. Central actions of orexin, mediated by orexin-1 and orexin-2 receptors, play a crucial role in the maintenance of wakefulness; accordingly, excessive activation of the orexin system causes insomnia. Resting-phase administration of dual orexin receptor antagonist (DORA) has been shown to improve sleep abnormalities and glucose intolerance in type 2 diabetic db/db mice, although the mechanism remains unknown. In the present study, to investigate the presence of functional link between sleep and glucose metabolism, the influences of orexin antagonists with or without sleep-promoting effects were compared on glucose metabolism in diabetic mice. In db/db mice, 2-SORA-MK1064 (an orexin-2 receptor antagonist) and DORA-12 (a DORA) acutely improved non-rapid eye movement sleep, whereas 1-SORA-1 (an orexin-1 receptor antagonist) had no effect. Chronic resting-phase administration of these drugs improved glucose intolerance, without affecting body weight, food intake, locomotor activity and energy expenditure calculated from O2 consumption and CO2 production. The expression levels of proinflammatory factors in the liver were reduced by 2-SORA-MK1064 and DORA-12, but not 1-SORA-1, whereas those in the white adipose tissue were reduced by 1-SORA-1 and DORA-12 more efficiently than 2-SORA-MK1064. When administered chronically at awake phase, these drugs caused no effect. In streptozotocin-induced type 1-like diabetic mice, neither abnormality in sleep–wake behavior nor improvement of glucose intolerance by these drugs were observed. These results suggest that both 1-SORA-type (sleep-independent) and 2-SORA-type (possibly sleep-dependent) mechanisms can provide chronotherapeutic effects against type 2 diabetes associated with sleep disturbances in db/db mice.

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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

Rhonda D Prisby, Joshua M Swift, Susan A Bloomfield, Harry A Hogan and Michael D Delp

Osteopenia and an enhanced risk of fracture often accompany type 1 diabetes. However, the association between type 2 diabetes and bone mass has been ambiguous with reports of enhanced, reduced, or similar bone mineral densities (BMDs) when compared with healthy individuals. Recently, studies have also associated type 2 diabetes with increased fracture risk even in the presence of higher BMDs. To determine the temporal relationship between type 2 diabetes and bone remodeling structural and mechanical properties at various bone sites were analyzed during pre-diabetes (7 weeks), short-term (13 weeks), and long-term (20 weeks) type 2 diabetes. BMDs and bone strength were measured in the femora and tibiae of Zucker diabetic fatty rats, a model of human type 2 diabetes. Increased BMDs (9–10%) were observed in the distal femora, proximal tibiae, and tibial mid- shafts in the pre-diabetic condition that corresponded with higher plasma insulin levels. During short- and long-term type 2 diabetes, various parameters of bone strength and BMDs were lower (9–26%) in the femoral neck, distal femora, proximal tibiae, and femoral and tibial mid-shafts. Correspondingly, blood glucose levels increased by 125% and 153% during short- and long-term diabetes respectively. These data indicate that alterations in BMDs and bone mechanical properties are closely associated with the onset of hyperinsulinemia and hyperglycemia, which may have direct adverse effects on skeletal tissue. Consequently, disparities in the human literature regarding the effects of type 2 diabetes on skeletal properties may be associated with the bone sites studied and the severity or duration of the disease in the patient population studied.

Free access

Richard W Nelson and Claudia E Reusch

Diabetes mellitus is a common disease in dogs and cats. The most common form of diabetes in dogs resembles type 1 diabetes in humans. Studies suggest that genetics, an immune-mediated component, and environmental factors are involved in the development of diabetes in dogs. A variant of gestational diabetes also occurs in dogs. The most common form of diabetes in cats resembles type 2 diabetes in humans. A major risk factor in cats is obesity. Obese cats have altered expression of several insulin signaling genes and glucose transporters and are leptin resistant. Cats also form amyloid deposits within the islets of the pancreas and develop glucotoxicity when exposed to prolonged hyperglycemia. This review will briefly summarize our current knowledge about the etiology of diabetes in dogs and cats and illustrate the similarities among dogs, cats, and humans.