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Endocrinology. 2002 Apr;143(4):1225-34.

Double-stranded RNA cooperates with interferon-gamma and IL-1 beta to induce both chemokine expression and nuclear factor-kappa B-dependent apoptosis in pancreatic beta-cells: potential mechanisms for viral-induced insulitis and beta-cell death in type 1 diabetes mellitus.

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Gene Expression Unit, Diabetes Research Center, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Brussels B-1070, Belgium.


Viral infections may trigger the autoimmune assault leading to type 1 diabetes mellitus. Double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) is produced by many viruses during their replicative cycle. The dsRNA, tested as synthetic poly(IC) (PIC), in synergism with the proinflammatory cytokines interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma) and/or IL-1 beta, results in nitric oxide production, Fas expression, beta-cell dysfunction, and death. Activation of the transcription nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-kappa B) is required for PIC-induced inducible nitric oxide synthase expression in beta-cells, and we hypothesized that this transcription factor may also participate in PIC-induced Fas expression and beta-cell apoptosis. This hypothesis, and the possibility that PIC induces expression of additional chemokines and cytokines (previously reported as NF-kappa B dependent) in pancreatic beta-cells, was investigated in the present study. We observed that the PIC-responsive region in the Fas promoter is located between nucleotides -223 and -54. Site-directed mutations at the NF-kappa B and CCAAT/enhancer binding protein-binding sites prevented PIC-induced Fas promoter activity. Increased Fas promoter activity was paralleled by enhanced susceptibility of PIC + cytokine-treated beta-cells to apoptosis induced by Fas ligand. beta-Cell infection with the NF-kappa B inhibitor AdI kappa B((SA)2) prevented both necrosis and apoptosis induced by PIC + IL-1 beta or PIC + IFN-gamma. Messenger RNAs for several chemokines and one cytokine were induced by PIC, alone or in combination with IFN-gamma, in pancreatic beta-cells. These included IP-10, interferon-gamma-inducible protein-10, IL-15, macrophage chemoattractant protein-1, fractalkine, and macrophage inflammatory protein-3 alpha. There was not, however, induction of IL-1 beta expression. We propose that dsRNA, generated during a viral infection, may contribute for beta-cell demise by both inducing expression of chemokines and IL-15, putative contributors for the build-up of insulitis, and by synergizing with locally produced cytokines to induce beta-cell apoptosis. Activation of the transcription factor NF-kappa B plays a central role in at least part of the deleterious effects of dsRNA in pancreatic beta-cells.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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