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J Cell Sci. 2005 Sep 1;118(Pt 17):3905-15. Epub 2005 Aug 9.

ER stress and SREBP-1 activation are implicated in beta-cell glucolipotoxicity.

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  • 1Department of Cell Physiology and Metabolism, University Medical Center, Geneva, CH-1211, Switzerland.


The reduction in insulin secretory capacity and beta-cell mass observed in type 2 diabetes is thought to be caused by glucolipotoxicity secondary to hyperglycemia and hyperlipidemia. Our aim in this study was to elucidate the underlying molecular mechanisms. We found a strong correlation between chronic high-glucose treatment and SREBP-1c activation in INS-1 cells and rat islets. Both high-glucose treatment and SREBP-1c activation in INS-1 cells resulted in lipid accumulation, impaired glucose-stimulated insulin secretion, apoptosis, and strikingly similar gene expression patterns, including upregulation of lipogenic and pro-apoptotic genes and downregulation of IRS2, Bclxl and Pdx1. These lipotoxic effects of high glucose were largely prevented by induction of a dominant-negative mutant of SREBP-1c, suggesting SREBP-1c is a major factor responsible for beta cell glucolipotoxicity. Moreover, overexpression of another lipogenic transcription factor, ChREBP, in INS-1 cells did not cause lipotoxicity. Intriguingly, chronic high glucose treatment in INS-1 cells led to pronounced induction of the ER stress marker genes, BIP and Chop10. Treatment of rat islets with both chronic high glucose and two ER stress inducers, thapsigargin and tunicamycin, enhanced SREBP-1 binding to the human IRS2 promoter. These results suggest that SREBP-1 activation caused by ER stress is implicated in beta-cell glucolipotoxicity.

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