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Diabetes. 2009 Apr;58(4):917-25. doi: 10.2337/db08-0537. Epub 2009 Jan 23.

FOXO1 plays an important role in enhanced microvascular cell apoptosis and microvascular cell loss in type 1 and type 2 diabetic rats.

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  • 1Department of Periodontology and Oral Biology, Boston University School of Dental Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.

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  • Diabetes. 2010 Jan;59(1):320.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To investigate early events leading to microvascular cell loss in diabetic retinopathy.

RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS:

FOXO1 was tested in vivo by DNA binding activity and by nuclear translocation in microvascular cells in retinal trypsin digests. In vivo studies were undertaken in STZ-induced diabetic rats and Zucker diabetic fatty rats using the tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-specific blocker, pegsunercept, or by inhibiting FOXO1 with RNAi. Microvascular cell apoptosis, formation of pericyte ghosts, and acellular capillaries were measured. Upstream and downstream effects of high-glucose-induced FOXO1 were tested on rat microvascular endothelial cells (RMECs) by small-interfering RNA (siRNA) in vitro.

RESULTS:

DNA binding or nuclear translocation of FOXO1, which was reduced by TNF inhibition, was elevated in type 1 and type 2 diabetic retinas. Diabetes stimulated microvascular cell apoptosis; pericyte ghost and acellular capillary development was inhibited by FOXO1 siRNA. High glucose in vitro decreased FOXO1 phosphorylation and DNA binding activity and decreased Akt phosphorylation in RMECs. High-glucose-stimulated FOXO1 DNA binding activity was mediated through TNF-alpha and formation of reactive oxygen species (ROS), while inhibitors of TNF and ROS and FOXO1 siRNA reduced high-glucose-enhanced RMEC apoptosis. The caspase-3/7 activity and capacity of high glucose to increase mRNA levels of several genes that regulate RMEC activation and apoptosis were knocked down by FOXO1 siRNA.

CONCLUSIONS:

FOXO1 plays an important role in rat retinal microvascular cell loss in type 1 and type 2 diabetic rats and can be linked to the effect of high glucose on FOXO1 activation.

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