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Pancreas. 1999 May;18(4):336-41.

The human insulin gene contains multiple transcriptional elements that respond to glucocorticoids.

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Nutritional Genetics Unit, National University of Mexico/INP, Mexico City, Mexico.


Glucocorticoids inhibit insulin expression in cultured pancreatic islet cells. In this study, we provide evidence that transcriptional downregulation of insulin gene expression by glucocorticoids is the result of synergistic interaction between various elements of the insulin promoter. Similar synergistic effects on insulin gene transcription were previously reported for other key insulin regulators, cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) and glucose. Transfection of CAT constructs containing different segments of the insulin promoter into the pancreatic cell line, HIT T-15 2.2.2, demonstrated that dexamethasone decreased CAT activity in all constructs tested. However, differences were found in the relative sensitivities of the various constructs. Glucocorticoid inhibition of expression from plasmids containing A elements may result from decreased expression of the pancreatic homeodomain protein STF-1. However, a different mechanism must be invoked for insulin promoter constructs lacking A sites, which nevertheless still demonstrated negative regulation. Glucocorticoid-induced inhibition of one of these regions (-882 to -342) was seen to require pancreas-specific factors, because inhibition was observed in HIT T-15 2.2.2 cells but not in the nonpancreatic COS-1 cells. We conclude, therefore, that the human insulin gene contains multiple transcriptional elements that respond to glucocorticoids, some of which require beta cell-specific factors.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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