Animal insulinoma cell lines are widely used to study physiological and pathophysiological mechanisms involved in glucose metabolism and to establish in vitro models for studies on beta-cells. In contrast, human insulinoma cell lines are rarely used because of difficulties in obtaining and culturing them for long periods. The aim of our study was to investigate, under different experimental conditions, the capacity of the human insulinoma cell line CM to retain beta-cell function, particularly the expression of constitutive beta-cell genes (insulin, the glucose transporters GLUT1 and GLUT2, glucokinase), intracellular and secreted insulin, beta-cell granules, and cAMP content. Results showed that CM cells from an early-passage express specific beta-cell genes in response to glucose stimulation, in particular the insulin and GLUT genes. Such capacity is lost at later passages when cells are cultured at standard glucose concentrations. However, if cultured at lower glucose concentration (0.8 mM) for a longer time, CM cells re-acquire the capacity to respond to glucose stimulation, as shown by the increased expression of beta-cell genes (insulin, GLUT2, glucokinase). Nonetheless, insulin secretion could not be restored under such experimental conditions despite the presence of intracellular insulin, although cAMP response to a potent activator of adenylate cyclase, forskolin, was present indicating a viable system. In conclusion, these data show that the human insulinoma cell line CM, at both early-passage and late-passage, posseses a functional glucose-signalling pathway and insulin mRNA expression similar to normal beta-cells, representing, therefore, a good model for studies concerning the signalling and expression of beta-cells. Furthermore, we have previously shown that it is also a good model for immunological studies. In this respect it is important to note that the CM cell line is one of the very few existing human beta-cell lines in long-term culture.
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- Author: MG Cavallo x
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MG Baroni, MG Cavallo, M Mark, L Monetini, B Stoehrer, and P Pozzilli
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.