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Kanchana Suksri, Namoiy Semprasert, Mutita Junking, Suchanoot Kutpruek, Thawornchai Limjindaporn, Pa-thai Yenchitsomanus, and Suwattanee Kooptiwut

Long-term medication with dexamethasone (a synthetic glucocorticoid (GC) drug) results in hyperglycemia, or steroid-induced diabetes. Although recent studies revealed dexamethasone directly induces pancreatic β-cell apoptosis, its molecular mechanisms remain unclear. In our initial analysis of mRNA transcripts, we discovered the tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) pathway may be involved in dexamethasone-induced pancreatic β-cell apoptosis. In the present study, a mechanism of dexamethasone-induced pancreatic β-cell apoptosis through the TRAIL pathway was investigated in cultured cells and isolated mouse islets. INS-1 cells were cultured with and without dexamethasone in the presence or absence of a glucocorticoid receptor (GR) inhibitor, RU486. We found that dexamethasone induced pancreatic β-cell apoptosis in association with the upregulation of TRAIL mRNA and protein expression. Moreover, dexamethasone upregulated the TRAIL death receptor (DR5) protein but suppressed the decoy receptor (DcR1) protein. Similar findings were observed in mouse isolated islets: dexamethasone increased TRAIL and DR5 compared to that of control mice. Furthermore, dexamethasone stimulated pro-apoptotic signaling including superoxide production, caspase-8, -9, and -3 activities, NF-B, and Bax, but repressed the anti-apoptotic protein, Bcl-2. All these effects were inhibited by the GR-inhibitor, RU486. Furthermore, knock down DR5 decreased dexamethasone-induced caspase 3 activity. Caspase-8 and caspase-9 inhibitors protected pancreatic β-cells from dexamethasone-induced apoptosis. Taken together, dexamethasone induced pancreatic β-cell apoptosis by binding to the GR and inducing DR5 and TRAIL pathway.

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Suwattanee Kooptiwut, Melkam Kebede, Sakeneh Zraika, Sherley Visinoni, Kathryn Aston-Mourney, Jenny Favaloro, Chris Tikellis, Merlin C Thomas, Josephine M Forbes, Mark E Cooper, Marjorie Dunlop, Joseph Proietto, and Sofianos Andrikopoulos

Type 2 diabetes is characterized by islet dysfunction resulting in hyperglycemia, which can then lead to further deterioration in islet function. A possible mechanism for hyperglycemia-induced islet dysfunction is the accumulation of advanced glycation end products (AGE). The DBA/2 mouse develops pancreatic islet dysfunction when exposed to a high glucose environment and/or obesity-induced insulin resistance. To determine the biochemical cause of dysfunction, DBA/2 and C57BL/6 control islets were incubated in 11.1 mM or 40 mM glucose in the absence or presence of the AGE inhibitor aminoguanidine (AG) for 10 days. Basal (2.8 mM glucose) insulin release was increased in both DBA/2 and C57BL/6 islets incubated with 40 mM vs 11.1 mM glucose for 10 days. Chronic exposure to hyperglycemia decreased glucose (20 mM)-stimulated insulin secretion in DBA/2 but not in C57BL/6 islets. AG significantly increased fold-induced insulin release in high glucose cultured DBA/2 mouse islets, but did not affect C57BL/6 islet function. DBA/2 islet glucokinase was significantly reduced following 40 mM glucose culture, compared with 11.1 mM glucose cultured DBA/2 islets and 40 mM glucose cultured C57BL/6 islets. Incubation of islets with AG resulted in a normalization of DBA/2 islet glucokinase levels. In conclusion, chronic high glucose-induced increases in AGE can result in islet dysfunction and this is associated with reduced glucokinase levels in a mouse model with susceptibility to islet failure.