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Endocrinology. 2012 Jul;153(7):3017-28. doi: 10.1210/en.2011-2090. Epub 2012 Apr 23.

Mild endoplasmic reticulum stress augments the proinflammatory effect of IL-1β in pancreatic rat β-cells via the IRE1α/XBP1s pathway.

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Laboratory of Experimental Medicine, Erasmus Hospital, Université Libre de Bruxelles, B-1070 Brussels, Belgium.


The prevalence of obesity and type 1 diabetes in children is increasing worldwide. Insulin resistance and augmented circulating free fatty acids associated with obesity may cause pancreatic β-cell endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress. We tested the hypothesis that mild ER stress predisposes β-cells to an exacerbated inflammatory response when exposed to IL-1β or TNF-α, cytokines that contribute to the pathogenesis of type 1 diabetes. INS-1E cells or primary rat β-cells were exposed to a low dose of the ER stressor cyclopiazonic acid (CPA) or free fatty acids, followed by low-dose IL-1β or TNF-α. ER stress signaling was inhibited by small interfering RNA. Cells were evaluated for proinflammatory gene expression by RT-PCR and ELISA, gene reporter activity, p65 activation by immunofluorescence, and apoptosis. CPA pretreatment enhanced IL-1β- induced, but not TNF-α-induced, expression of chemokine (C-C motif) ligand 2, chemokine (C-X-C motif) ligand 1, inducible nitric oxide synthase, and Fas via augmented nuclear factor κB (NF-κB) activation. X-box binding protein 1 (XBP1) and inositol-requiring enzyme 1, but not CCAAT/enhancer binding protein homologous protein, knockdown prevented the CPA-induced exacerbation of NF-κB-dependent genes and decreased IL-1β-induced NF-κB promoter activity. XBP1 modulated NF-κB activity via forkhead box O1 inhibition. In conclusion, rat β-cells facing mild ER stress are sensitized to IL-1β, generating a more intense and protracted inflammatory response through inositol-requiring enzyme 1/XBP1 activation. These observations link β-cell ER stress to the triggering of exacerbated local inflammation.

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