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Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2014 Mar;306(6):E648-57. doi: 10.1152/ajpendo.00451.2013. Epub 2014 Jan 14.

IL-1β hampers glucose-stimulated insulin secretion in Cohen diabetic rat islets through mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase inhibition by nitric oxide.

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Diabetes Unit, Department of Internal Medicine, Hadassah-Hebrew University Medical Center, Jerusalem, Israel;


A high-sucrose, low-copper-diet (HSD) induces inhibition of glucose-sensitive rats (CDs) but not Cohen diabetes-resistant rats (CDr). Copper-supplemented HSD increased activity of the copper-dependent mitochondrial respiratory chain enzyme cytochrome c oxidase (COX) and reversed hyperglycemia. This study examined the mechanism by which interleukin-1β modulates GSIS and the role of COX in this process. We measured COX activity, ATP content, GSIS, iNOS expression, and nitrite production with and without IL-1β, N(ω)-nitro-l-arginine, copper, or potassium cyanide in isolated islets of CDs and CDr fed different diets. We found reduced COX activity, ATP content, and GSIS in isolated islets of CDs rats fed a regular diet. These were severely reduced following HSD and were restored to regular diet levels on copper-supplemented HSD (P < 0.01 vs. CDr islets). Potassium cyanide chemically reduced COX activity, decreasing GSIS and thus reinforcing the link between islet COX activity and GSIS. Interleukin-1β (2.5 U/ml) reduced GSIS and COX activity in CDs islets. Exposure to 10 U/ml interleukin-1β decreased GSIS and COX activity in both CDs and CDr islets, inducing a similar nitrite production. Nevertheless, the effect on GSIS was more marked in CDs islets. A significant iNOS expression was detected in CDs on the HSD diet, which was reduced by copper supplementation. N(ω)-nitro-l-arginine and copper prevented the deleterious effect of interleukin-1β on COX activity and GSIS. We conclude that reduced islet COX activity renders vulnerability to GSIS inhibition on low-copper HSD through two interrelated pathways: 1) by further reducing the activity of COX that is essential for β-cell ATP-production and insulin secretion and 2) by inducing the expression of iNOS and nitric oxide-mediated COX inhibition. We suggest that islet COX activity must be maintained above a critical threshold to sustain adequate GSIS with exposure to low-copper HSD.


copper; cytochrome c oxidase; inducible nitrix oxide synthase; interleukin-1β; pancreatic β-cell

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