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J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2008 Oct;93(10):4065-74. doi: 10.1210/jc.2008-0396. Epub 2008 Jul 29.

Increased interleukin (IL)-1beta messenger ribonucleic acid expression in beta -cells of individuals with type 2 diabetes and regulation of IL-1beta in human islets by glucose and autostimulation.

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Department of Medicine, University Hospital, CH-8091 Zurich, Switzerland.



Elevated glucose levels impair islet function and survival, and it has been proposed that intraislet expression of IL-1beta contributes to glucotoxicity.


The objective was to investigate IL-1beta mRNA expression in near-pure beta-cells of patients with type 2 diabetes (T2DM) and study the regulation of IL-1beta by glucose in isolated human islets.


Laser capture microdissection was performed to isolate beta-cells from pancreas sections of 10 type 2 diabetic donors and nine controls, and IL-1beta mRNA expression was analyzed using gene arrays and PCR. Cultured human islets and fluorescence-activated cell sorter-purified human beta-cells were used to study the regulation of IL-1beta expression by glucose and IL-1beta.


Gene array analysis of RNA from beta-cells of individuals with T2DM revealed increased expression of IL-1beta mRNA. Real-time PCR confirmed increased IL-1beta expression in six of 10 T2DM samples, with minimal or no expression in nine control samples. In cultured human islets, IL-1beta mRNA and protein expression was induced by high glucose and IL-1beta autostimulation and decreased by the IL-1 receptor antagonist IL-1Ra. The glucose response was negatively correlated with basal IL-1beta expression levels. Autostimulation was transient and nuclear factor-kappaB dependent. Glucose-induced IL-1beta was biologically active and stimulated IL-8 release. Low picogram per milliliter concentrations of IL-1beta up-regulated inflammatory factors IL-8 and IL-6.


Evidence that IL-1beta mRNA expression is up-regulated in beta-cells of patients with T2DM is presented, and glucose-promoted IL-1beta autostimulation may be a possible contributor.

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