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Diabetes. 2002 Jan;51(1):159-67.

Hyperglycemia-induced apoptosis in human umbilical vein endothelial cells: inhibition by the AMP-activated protein kinase activation.

Author information

1
Boston Medical Center, EBRC 820, Diabetes & Metabolism Unit, Section of Endocrinology and Department of Medicine, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts 02118, USA. yido@medicine.bu.edu

Abstract

Apoptosis has been observed in vascular cells, nerve, and myocardium of diabetic humans and experimental animals, although whether it contributes to or is a marker of complications in these tissues is unclear. Previous studies have shown that incubation of human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) with 30 vs. 5 mmol/l glucose for 72 h causes a significant increase in apoptosis, possibly related to an increase in oxidative stress. We report here that this increase in apoptosis (assessed morphologically by TdT-mediated dUTP nick- end labeling staining) is preceded (24 h of incubation) by inhibition of fatty acid oxidation, by increases in diacylglycerol synthesis, the concentration of malonyl CoA, and caspase-3 activity, and by decreases in mitochondrial membrane potential and cellular ATP content. In addition, the phosphorylation of Akt in the presence of 150 microU/ml insulin was impaired. No increases in ceramide content or its de novo synthesis were observed. AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) activity was not diminished; however, incubation with the AMPK activator 5-aminoimidazole-4-carboxamide-riboside increased AMPK activity twofold and completely prevented all of these changes. Likewise, expression of a constitutively active AMPK in HUVEC prevented the increase in caspase-3 activity. The results indicate that alterations in fatty-acid metabolism, impaired Akt activation by insulin, and increased caspase-3 activity precede visible evidence of apoptosis in HUVEC incubated in a hyperglycemic medium. They also suggest that AMPK could play an important role in protecting the endothelial cell against the adverse effects of sustained hyperglycemia.

PMID:
11756336
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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