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  • Author: Vinicius Fernandes Cruzat x
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Vinicius Fernandes Cruzat, Kevin Noel Keane, Anita Lavarda Scheinpflug, Robson Cordeiro, Mario J Soares and Philip Newsholme

Obesity-associated diabetes and concomitant inflammation may compromise pancreatic β-cell integrity and function. l-glutamine and l-alanine are potent insulin secretagogues, with antioxidant and cytoprotective properties. Herein, we studied whether the dipeptide l-alanyl-l-glutamine (Ala-Gln) could exert protective effects via sirtuin 1/HUR (SIRT1/HUR) signalling in β-cells, against detrimental responses following ex vivo stimulation with inflammatory mediators derived from macrophages (IMMs). The macrophages were derived from blood obtained from obese subjects. Macrophages were exposed (or not) to lipopolysaccharide (LPS) to generate a pro-inflammatory cytokine cocktail. The cytokine profile was determined following analysis by flow cytometry. Insulin-secreting BRIN–BD11 β-cells were exposed to IMMs and then cultured with or without Ala-Gln for 24 h. Chronic insulin secretion, the l-glutamine–glutathione (GSH) axis, and the level of insulin receptor β (IR-β), heat shock protein 70 (HSP70), SIRT1/HUR, CCAAT-enhancer-binding protein homologous protein (CHOP) and cytochrome c oxidase IV (COX IV) were evaluated. Concentrations of cytokines, including interleukin 1β (IL1β), IL6, IL10 and tumour necrosis factor alpha (TNFα) in the IMMs, were higher following exposure to LPS. Subsequently, when β-cells were exposed to IMMs, chronic insulin secretion, and IR-β and COX IV levels were decreased, but these effects were partially or fully attenuated by the addition of Ala-Gln. The glutamine–GSH axis and HSP70 levels, which were compromised by IMMs, were also restored by Ala-Gln, possibly due to protection of SIRT1/HUR levels, and a reduction of CHOP expression. Using an ex vivo inflammatory approach, we have demonstrated Ala-Gln-dependent β-cell protection mediated by coordinated effects on the glutamine–GSH axis, and the HSP pathway, maintenance of mitochondrial metabolism and stimulus–secretion coupling essential for insulin release.

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Daniel Simões, Patrícia Riva, Rodrigo Antonio Peliciari-Garcia, Vinicius Fernandes Cruzat, Maria Fernanda Graciano, Ana Claudia Munhoz, Marco Taneda, José Cipolla-Neto and Angelo Rafael Carpinelli

Melatonin is a hormone synthesized in the pineal gland, which modulates several functions within the organism, including the synchronization of glucose metabolism and glucose-stimulated insulin secretion (GSIS). Melatonin can mediate different signaling pathways in pancreatic islets through two membrane receptors and via antioxidant or pro-oxidant enzymes modulation. NADPH oxidase (NOX) is a pro-oxidant enzyme responsible for the production of the reactive oxygen specie (ROS) superoxide, generated from molecular oxygen. In pancreatic islets, NOX-derived ROS can modulate glucose metabolism and regulate insulin secretion. Considering the roles of both melatonin and NOX in islets, the aim of this study was to evaluate the association of NOX and ROS production on glucose metabolism, basal and GSIS in pinealectomized rats (PINX) and in melatonin-treated isolated pancreatic islets. Our results showed that ROS content derived from NOX activity was increased in PINX at baseline (2.8 mM glucose), which was followed by a reduction in glucose metabolism and basal insulin secretion in this group. Under 16.7 mM glucose, an increase in both glucose metabolism and GSIS was observed in PINX islets, without changes in ROS content. In isolated pancreatic islets from control animals incubated with 2.8 mM glucose, melatonin treatment reduced ROS content, whereas in 16.7 mM glucose, melatonin reduced ROS and GSIS. In conclusion, our results demonstrate that both basal and stimulated insulin secretion can be regulated by melatonin through the maintenance of ROS homeostasis in pancreatic islets.