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Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2011 Jan;300(1):R12-20. doi: 10.1152/ajpregu.00421.2010. Epub 2010 Oct 13.

Phagocyte-like NADPH oxidase promotes cytokine-induced mitochondrial dysfunction in pancreatic β-cells: evidence for regulation by Rac1.

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Dept. of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Wayne State University, John D. Dingell VA Medical Center, Detroit, Michigan, USA.


Reactive oxygen species (ROS) are important mediators of cellular signal transduction cascades such as proliferation, migration, and apoptosis. Chronic exposure of isolated β-cells to proinflammatory cytokines elevates intracellular oxidative stress leading to the demise of pancreatic β-cells culminating in the onset of diabetes. Although the mitochondrial electron transport chain is felt to be the primary source of ROS, several lines of recent evidence suggest that phagocyte-like NADPH oxidase plays a central role in cytokine-mediated ROS generation and apoptosis of β-cells. However, the precise mechanisms underlying the regulation of NADPH oxidase remain unknown. To address this, insulin-secreting INS 832/13 cells were treated with cytomix (IL-1β, IFN-γ, and TNF-α; 10 ng/ml each) for different time intervals (0-24 h). A significant, time-dependent increase in NADPH oxidase activation/intracellular ROS production, p47(phox) subunit, but not p67(phox) subunit, expression of the phagocyte-like NADPH oxidase were demonstrable under these conditions. Furthermore, siRNA-p47(phox) transfection or exposure of INS 832/13 cells to apocynin, a selective inhibitor of NADPH oxidase, markedly attenuated cytomix-induced ROS generation in these cells. Cytomix-mediated mitochondrial dysfunction in INS 832/13 cells was evident by a significant loss of mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP) and upregulated caspase 3 activity. Cytomix treatment also caused a transient (within 15 min) activation of Rac1, a component of the NADPH oxidase holoenzyme. Furthermore, GGTI-2147 and NSC23766, known Rac1 inhibitors, not only attenuated the cytomix-induced Rac1 activation but also significantly prevented loss of MMP (NSC23766 > GGTI-2147). However, NSC23766 had no effect on cytomix-induced NO generation or caspase 3 activation, suggesting additional regulatory mechanisms might underlie these signaling steps. Together, these findings suggested that Rac1-mediated regulation of phagocyte-like NADPH oxidase contributes to cytokine-mediated mitochondrial dysfunction in the β-cell.

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