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J Biol Chem. 2004 Oct 1;279(40):41271-4. Epub 2004 Aug 18.

The cytokine interleukin-1beta reduces the docking and fusion of insulin granules in pancreatic beta-cells, preferentially decreasing the first phase of exocytosis.

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Department of Biochemistry, Kyorin University School of Medicine, 6-20-2 Shinkawa, Mitaka, Tokyo 181-8611, Japan.


The prediabetic period in type I diabetes mellitus is characterized by the loss of first phase insulin release. This might be due to islet infiltration mediated by mononuclear cells and local release of cytokines, but the mechanisms involved are unknown. To determine the role of cytokines in insulin exocytosis, we have presently utilized total internal reflection fluorescence microscopy (TIRFM) to image and analyze the dynamic motion of single insulin secretory granules near the plasma membrane in live beta-cells exposed for 24 h to interleukin (IL)-1beta or interferon (IFN)-gamma. Immunohistochemistry observed via TIRFM showed that the number of docked insulin granules was decreased by 60% in beta-cells treated with IL-1beta, while it was not affected by exposure to IFN-gamma. This effect of IL-1beta was paralleled by a 50% reduction in the mRNA and the number of clusters of SNAP-25 in the plasma membrane. TIRF images of single insulin granule motion during a 15-min stimulation by 22 mm glucose in IL-1beta-treated beta-cells showed a marked reduction in the fusion events from previously docked granules during the first phase insulin release. Fusion from newcomers, however, was well preserved during the second phase of insulin release of IL-1beta-treated beta-cells. The present observations indicate that IL-1beta, but not IFN-gamma, has a preferential inhibitory effect on the first phase of glucose-induced insulin release, mostly via an action on previously docked granules. This suggests that beta-cell exposure to immune mediators during the course of insulitis might be responsible for the loss of first phase insulin release.

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