Send to

Choose Destination
Histol Histopathol. 2006 Sep;21(9):941-50. doi: 10.14670/HH-21.941.

Electron microscopic analysis of glucose-induced endothelial damage in primary culture: possible mechanism and prevention.

Author information

Division of Nephrology, Department of Medicine, University of Florida, Jacksonville, Florida, USA.


We previously reported that high glucose treated cultured endothelial cells (ECs) showed intercellular gaps by transmission electron microscopy (TEM). These gaps were abrogated with insulin and/or heparin treatment. Our aims were to assess the severity of injury in ECs treated with high glucose for variable duration, and to further study the protective effects of insulin and/or heparin. Cells were also treated with L-buthionine sulfoximine (BSO), a glutathione inhibitor, to help understand the mechanism of high glucose injury. Primary porcine ECs were treated with high glucose (30 mM) for 2, 6 or 10 days; and glucose plus insulin (1 U/ml), glucose plus heparin (5 microg/ml), glucose plus insulin plus heparin for 6 days. ECs were treated with BSO (0.001-0.05 mM) for 2 days. Pellets from trypsinized cells were processed for TEM. High glucose treatment revealed apoptosis or necrosis showing variable cell size, abnormal nuclei, condensation of nuclear chromatin, few mitochondria, cell membrane disruption and needle-shaped structures. Changes increased with duration of exposure. In high glucose plus heparin or insulin treated cultures at least one-half of the cells appeared normal. Most ECs were intact when treated with high glucose plus insulin plus heparin. BSO treatment showed dose-dependent changes with low doses showing apoptosis whereas higher doses revealed necrosis similar to high glucose treatment for 6 or 10 days. High glucose-induced EC injury increased with duration of exposure. These data demonstrate that high glucose injury resembles that of BSO treatment, suggesting that glutathione depletion may be involved in EC injury. Insulin and/or heparin protect against high glucose-induced injury.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Sercrisma International S.L.
Loading ...
Support Center