Hyperhomocysteinemia and insulin resistance are independent factors for cardiovascular disease. Most of the angiotoxic effects of homocysteine are related to the formation of homocysteine thiolactone and the consequent increase in oxidative stress. We have recently found that homocysteine thiolactone inhibits insulin receptor tyrosine kinase activity, which results in decreased phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) activity and inhibition of glycogen synthesis. Oxidative stress seemed to be the mechanism underlying these effects, since glutathione was able to restore the insulin signaling as well as the insulin-mediated glycogen synthesis. In the present work we have further investigated insulin receptor signaling studying mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK), glycogen synthase kinase-3 (GSK-3) and p70 S6K phosphorylation. Again, homocysteine thiolactone (50 μM) prevented insulin-mediated MAPK, GSK-3 and p70 S6K phosphorylation and these effects were blocked by glutathione (250 μM). Since MAPK and PI3K pathways, including GSK3 and S6K, seem to mediate insulin-mediated growth and proliferation, we measured DNA and protein synthesis. We have found that homocysteine thiolactone (50 μM) inhibits insulin-mediated growth and proliferation, as previously shown for glycogen synthesis. Again, these effects seem to be mediated by oxidative stress, since 250 μM glutathione completely abolished the effects of homocysteine thiolactone on insulin-stimulated DNA and protein synthesis. In conclusion, these data suggest that homocysteine thiolactone impairs insulin signaling by a mechanism involving oxidative stress, leading to a defect in the action of insulin on growth and proliferation.
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S Najib and V Sanchez-Margalet
Hyperhomocysteinemia and insulin resistance are independent factors for cardiovascular disease. Most of the angiotoxic effects of homocysteine are related to the formation of homocysteine thiolactone and the consequent increase in oxidative stress. The oxidative stress has also been shown to impair insulin action, therefore leading to insulin resistance. In order to study a putative direct effect of homocysteine on insulin signaling, we have characterized the molecular counter-regulation of the early events in the signal transduction of the insulin receptor, and the metabolic end-point of glycogen synthesis. We employed HTC rat hepatoma cells transfected with the human insulin receptor. A 10 min exposure to homocysteine thiolactone (50 microM) resulted in a significant inhibition of insulin-stimulated tyrosine phosphorylation of the insulin receptor beta-subunit and its substrates IRS-1 and p60-70, as well as their association with the p85 regulatory subunit of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase. These effects led to impairment of the insulin-stimulated phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase activity, which plays a central role in regulating insulin action. Thus, insulin-stimulated glycogen synthesis was also inhibited by homocysteine thiolactone. To investigate whether oxidative stress was mediating the counter-regulatory effect of homocysteine thiolactone on insulin signaling, we preincubated the cells (5 min) with 250 microM glutathione prior to the incubation with homocysteine (10 min) and subsequent insulin challenge. Glutathione completely abolished the effects of homocysteine thiolactone on insulin-receptor signaling and restored the insulin-stimulated glycogen synthesis. In conclusion, these data suggest that homocysteine thiolactone impairs insulin signaling by a mechanism involving oxidative stress, leading to a defect in insulin action.
V Sánchez-Margalet, M Lucas, and R Goberna
Pancreastatin is a 49 amino acid peptide first isolated, purified and characterized from the porcine pancreas, and whose biological activity in different tissues can be assigned to the C-terminal part of the molecule. Pancreastatin has a prohormonal precursor, chromogranin A (CGA), which is a glycoprotein present in neuroendocrine cells, including the endocrine pancreas. Both intracellular and extracellular processing of CGA can yield pancreastatin. This processing is tissue-specific, with the pancreatic islet and antral gastric endocrine cells being the major source of fully processed pancreastatin. Most of the circulating CGA is secreted by chromaffin tissue. Therefore, peripheral processing of CGA is probably the major indirect source of pancreastatin. Pancreastatin seems to have a general modulatory control on endocrine (insulin, glucagon, parathormone) and exocrine (pancreatic, gastric) secretion from tissues close to the source of production. This has led to the assumption that pancreastatin may be a peptide with an autocrine and paracrine function. It has recently been revealed to be a peptide with a metabolic function counter-regulatory to insulin action. This effect, in conjunction with the inhibitory effect on insulin and pancreatic exocrine secretion, points to a role in the physiology of stress. The molecular mechanism of the glycogenolytic effect of pancreastatin is better known, although further work is still needed. In general, more studies should be carried out at the molecular level to investigate the mechanism of action of pancreastatin and thus to clarify its physiological role in the neuroendocrine system.