Chronic hyperglycemia and inflammatory cytokines disrupt and/or attenuate signal transduction pathways that promote normal β-cell survival, leading to the destruction of endocrine pancreas in type 2 diabetes. There is convincing evidence that autocrine insulin signalling exerts protective anti-apoptotic effects on beta cells. Suppressors of cytokine signalling (SOCS) were induced by several cytokines and inhibit insulin-initiated signal transduction. The aim of this study was to investigate whether high glucose can influence endogenous interleukin-1β (IL-1β) and SOCS expression thus affecting insulin signalling and survival in insulin-producing mouse pancreatic beta cells (βTC-6). Results showed that prolonged exposure of βTC-6 cells to increased glucose concentrations resulted in significant inhibition of insulin-induced tyrosine phosphorylation of the insulin receptor (IR), and insulin receptor substrate-2 (IRS-2) as well as PI3-kinase activation. These changes were accompanied by impaired activation of the anti-apoptotic signalling protein Akt and annulment of Akt-mediated suppression of the Forkhead family of transcription factors (FoxO) activation. Glucose-induced attenuation of IRS-2/Akt-mediated signalling was associated with increased IL-1β expression. Enhanced endogenous IL-1β specifically induced mRNA and protein expression of SOCS-1 in βTC-6 cells. Inhibition of SOCS-1 expression by SOCS-1-specific small interfering RNA restored IRS-2/PI3K-mediated Akt phosphorylation suppressed by high glucose. The upregulation of endogenous cytokine signalling and FoxO activation were accompanied by enhanced caspase-3 activation and increased susceptibility of cells to apoptosis. These results indicated that glucose-induced endogenous IL-1β expression increased βTC-6 cells apoptosis by inhibiting, at least in part, IRS-2/Akt-mediated signalling through SOCS-1 upregulation.
- Insulin signalling
- Pancreatic beta cell glucotoxicity
- βTC-6 cells