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Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 2007 May 1;220(3):333-40. Epub 2007 Feb 6.

Cell death and impairment of glucose-stimulated insulin secretion induced by 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD) in the beta-cell line INS-1E.

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Dipartimento di Patologia Sperimentale, Biotecnologie Mediche, Infettivologia ed Epidemiologia,Sezione di Patologia Generale, Pisa, Italy.


The aim of this research was to characterize 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD) toxicity on the insulin-secreting beta-cell line INS-1E. A sharp decline of cell survival (below 20%) was observed after 1 h exposure to TCDD concentrations between 12.5 and 25 nM. Ultrastructurally, beta-cell death was characterized by extensive degranulation, appearance of autophagic vacuoles, and peripheral nuclear condensation. Cytotoxic concentrations of TCDD rapidly induced a dose-dependent increase in intracellular calcium concentration. Blocking calcium entry by EGTA significantly decreased TCDD cytotoxicity. TCDD was also able to rapidly induce mitochondrial depolarization. Interestingly, 1 h exposition of INS-1E cells to very low TCDD concentrations (0.05-1 nM) dramatically impaired glucose-stimulated but not KCl-stimulated insulin secretion. In conclusion, our results clearly show that TCDD exerts a direct beta-cell cytotoxic effect at concentrations of 15-25 nM, but also markedly impairs glucose-stimulated insulin secretion at concentrations 20 times lower than these. On the basis of this latter observation we suggest that pancreatic beta-cells could be considered a specific and sensitive target for dioxin toxicity.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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