The mainstay of contemporary therapies for extensive occlusive arterial disease is venous bypass graft. However, its durability is threatened by intimal hyperplasia (IH) that eventually leads to vessel occlusion and graft failure. Mechanical forces, particularly low shear stress and high wall tension, are thought to initiate and to sustain these cellular and molecular changes, but their exact contribution remains to be unraveled. To selectively evaluate the role of pressure and shear stress on the biology of IH, an ex vivo perfusion system (EVPS) was created to perfuse segments of human saphenous veins under arterial regimen (high shear stress and high pressure). Further technical innovations allowed the simultaneous perfusion of two segments from the same vein, one reinforced with an external mesh. Veins were harvested using a no-touch technique and immediately transferred to the laboratory for assembly in the EVPS. One segment of the freshly isolated vein was not perfused (control, day 0). The two others segments were perfused for up to 7 days, one being completely sheltered with a 4 mm (diameter) external mesh. The pressure, flow velocity, and pulse rate were continuously monitored and adjusted to mimic the hemodynamic conditions prevailing in the femoral artery. Upon completion of the perfusion, veins were dismounted and used for histological and molecular analysis. Under ex vivo conditions, high pressure perfusion (arterial, mean = 100 mm Hg) is sufficient to generate IH and remodeling of human veins. These alterations are reduced in the presence of an external polyester mesh.
The saphenous vein is the conduit of choice in bypass graft procedures. Haemodynamic factors play a major role in the development of intimal hyperplasia (IH), and subsequent bypass failure. To evaluate the potential protective effect of external reinforcement on such a failure, we developed an ex vivo model for the perfusion of segments of human saphenous veins under arterial shear stress. In veins submitted to pulsatile high pressure (mean pressure at 100 mmHg) for 3 or 7 days, the use of an external macroporous polyester mesh 1) prevented the dilatation of the vessel, 2) decreased the development of IH, 3) reduced the apoptosis of smooth muscle cells, and the subsequent fibrosis of the media layer, 4) prevented the remodelling of extracellular matrix through the up-regulation of matrix metalloproteinases (MMP-2, MMP-9) and plasminogen activator type I. The data show that, in an experimental ex vivo setting, an external scaffold decreases IH and maintains the integrity of veins exposed to arterial pressure, via increase in shear stress and decrease wall tension, that likely contribute to trigger selective molecular and cellular changes.
Connexin36 (Cx36), a trans-membrane protein that forms gap junctions between insulin-secreting beta-cells in the Langerhans islets, contributes to the proper control of insulin secretion and beta-cell survival. Hypercholesterolemia and pro-atherogenic low density lipoproteins (LDL) contribute to beta-cell dysfunction and apoptosis in the context of Type 2 diabetes. We investigated the impact of LDL-cholesterol on Cx36 levels in beta-cells. As compared to WT mice, the Cx36 content was reduced in islets from hypercholesterolemic ApoE-/- mice. Prolonged exposure to human native (nLDL) or oxidized LDL (oxLDL) particles decreased the expression of Cx36 in insulin secreting cell-lines and isolated rodent islets. Cx36 down-regulation was associated with overexpression of the inducible cAMP early repressor (ICER-1) and the selective disruption of ICER-1 prevented the effects of oxLDL on Cx36 expression. Oil red O staining and Plin1 expression levels suggested that oxLDL were less stored as neutral lipid droplets than nLDL in INS-1E cells. The lipid beta-oxidation inhibitor etomoxir enhanced oxLDL-induced apoptosis whereas the ceramide synthesis inhibitor myriocin partially protected INS-1E cells, suggesting that oxLDL toxicity was due to impaired metabolism of the lipids. ICER-1 and Cx36 expressions were closely correlated with oxLDL toxicity. Cx36 knock-down in INS-1E cells or knock-out in primary islets sensitized beta-cells to oxLDL-induced apoptosis. In contrast, overexpression of Cx36 partially protected INS-1E cells against apoptosis. These data demonstrate that the reduction of Cx36 content in beta-cells by oxLDL particles is mediated by ICER-1 and contributes to oxLDL-induced beta-cell apoptosis.
Background/Aims: Smooth muscle tone is controlled by Ca(2+) signaling in the endothelial layer. Mouse endothelial cells are interconnected by gap junctions made of Connexin40 (Cx40) and Cx37, which allow the exchange of signaling molecules to coordinate their activity. Here, we investigated the role of Cx40 in the endothelial Ca(2+) signaling of the mouse aorta. Methods: Ca(2+) imaging was performed on intact aortic endothelium from both wild type (Cx40+/+) and Connexin40-deficient (Cx40 -/-) mice. Results: Acetylcholine (ACh) induced early fast and high amplitude Ca(2+) transients in a fraction of endothelial cells expressing the M3 muscarinic receptors. Inhibition of intercellular communication using carbenoxolone or octanol fully blocked the propagation of ACh-induced Ca(2+) transients toward adjacent cells in WT and Cx40-/- mice. As compared to WT, Cx40-/- mice displayed a reduced propagation of ACh-induced Ca(2+) waves, indicating that Cx40 contributes to the spreading of Ca(2+) signals. The propagation of those Ca(2+) responses was not blocked by suramin, a blocker of purinergic ATP receptors, indicating that there is no paracrine effect of ATP release on the Ca(2+) waves. Conclusions: Altogether our data show that Cx40 and Cx37 contribute to the propagation and amplification of the Ca(2+) signaling triggered by ACh in endothelial cells expressing the M3 muscarinic receptors.
Channels formed by the gap junction protein Connexin36 (CX36) contribute to the proper control of insulin secretion. We previously demonstrated that chronic exposure to glucose decreases Cx36 levels in insulin-secreting cells in vitro. Here, we investigated whether hyperglycemia also regulates Cx36 in vivo. Using a model of continuous glucose infusion in adult rats, we showed that prolonged (24-48 h) hyperglycemia reduced the Cx36 gene Gjd2 mRNA levels in pancreatic islets. Accordingly, prolonged exposure to high glucose concentrations also reduced the expression and function of Cx36 in the rat insulin-producing INS-1E cell line. The glucose effect was blocked after inhibition of the cAMP/PKA pathway and was associated with an overexpression of the inducible cAMP early repressor ICER-1/ICER-1?, which binds to a functional cAMP-response element in the promoter of the Cx36 gene Gjd2. The involvement of this repressor was further demonstrated using an antisense strategy of ICER-1 inhibition, which prevented glucose-induced downregulation of Cx36. The data indicate that chronic exposure to glucose alters the in vivo expression of Cx36 by the insulin-producing ?-cells through ICER-1/ICER-1? overexpression. This mechanism may contribute to the reduced glucose sensitivity and altered insulin secretion, which contribute to the pathophysiology of diabetes.
We have previously shown that overexpression of the Na-Ca exchanger (NCX1), a protein responsible for Ca(2+) extrusion from cells, increases ?-cell programmed cell death (apoptosis) and reduces ?-cell proliferation. To further characterize the role of NCX1 in ?-cells under in vivo conditions, we developed and characterized mice deficient for NCX1.
Type 1 diabetes develops when most insulin-producing ? cells of the pancreas are killed by an autoimmune attack. The in vivo conditions modulating the sensitivity and resistance of ? cells to this attack remain largely obscure. Here, we show that connexin 36 (Cx36), a trans-membrane protein that forms gap junctions between ? cells in the pancreatic islets, protects mouse ? cells against both cytotoxic drugs and cytokines that prevail in the islet environment at the onset of type 1 diabetes. We documented that this protection was at least partially dependent on intercellular communication, which Cx36 and other types of connexin channels establish within pancreatic islets. We further found that proinflammatory cytokines decreased expression of Cx36 and that experimental reduction or augmentation of Cx36 levels increased or decreased ? cell apoptosis, respectively. Thus, we conclude that Cx36 is central to ? cell protection from toxic insults.
The rise in type 1 diabetes (T1D) incidence in recent decades is probably related to modifications in environmental factors. Viruses are among the putative environmental triggers of T1D. The mechanisms regulating beta cell responses to viruses, however, remain to be defined. We have presently clarified the signaling pathways leading to beta cell apoptosis following exposure to the viral mimetic double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) and a diabetogenic enterovirus (Coxsackievirus B5). Internal dsRNA induces cell death via the intrinsic mitochondrial pathway. In this process, activation of the dsRNA-dependent protein kinase (PKR) promotes eIF2? phosphorylation and protein synthesis inhibition, leading to downregulation of the antiapoptotic Bcl-2 protein myeloid cell leukemia sequence 1 (Mcl-1). Mcl-1 decrease results in the release of the BH3-only protein Bim, which activates the mitochondrial pathway of apoptosis. Indeed, Bim knockdown prevented both dsRNA- and Coxsackievirus B5-induced beta cell death, and counteracted the proapoptotic effects of Mcl-1 silencing. These observations indicate that the balance between Mcl-1 and Bim is a key factor regulating beta cell survival during diabetogenic viral infections.
Ca(2+) may trigger apoptosis in ?-cells. Hence, the control of intracellular Ca(2+) may represent a potential approach to prevent ?-cell apoptosis in diabetes. Our objective was to investigate the effect and mechanism of action of plasma membrane Ca(2+)-ATPase (PMCA) overexpression on Ca(2+)-regulated apoptosis in clonal ?-cells. Clonal ?-cells (BRIN-BD11) were examined for the effect of PMCA overexpression on cytosolic and mitochondrial [Ca(2+)] using a combination of aequorins with different Ca(2+) affinities and on the ER and mitochondrial pathways of apoptosis. ?-cell stimulation generated microdomains of high [Ca(2+)] in the cytosol and subcellular heterogeneities in [Ca(2+)] among mitochondria. Overexpression of PMCA decreased [Ca(2+)] in the cytosol, the ER, and the mitochondria and activated the IRE1?-XBP1s but inhibited the PRKR-like ER kinase-eIF2? and the ATF6-BiP pathways of the ER-unfolded protein response. Increased Bax/Bcl-2 expression ratio was observed in PMCA overexpressing ?-cells. This was followed by Bax translocation to the mitochondria with subsequent cytochrome c release, opening of the permeability transition pore, and apoptosis. In conclusion, clonal ?-cell stimulation generates microdomains of high [Ca(2+)] in the cytosol and subcellular heterogeneities in [Ca(2+)] among mitochondria. PMCA overexpression depletes intracellular [Ca(2+)] stores and, despite a decrease in mitochondrial [Ca(2+)], induces apoptosis through the mitochondrial pathway. These data open the way to new strategies to control cellular Ca(2+) homeostasis that could decrease ?-cell apoptosis in diabetes.
Diabetes and the related metabolic syndrome are multi system disorders that result from improper interactions between various cell types. Even though the underlying mechanism remains to be fully understood, it is most likely that both the long and the short distance range cell interactions, which normally ensure the physiologic functioning of the pancreas, and its relationships with the insulin-targeted organs, are altered. This review focuses on the short-range type of interactions that depend on the contact between adjacent cells and, specifically, on the interactions that are dependent on connexins. The widespread distribution of these membrane proteins, their multiple modes of action, and their interactions with conditions/molecules associated to both the pathogenesis and the treatment of the 2 main forms of diabetes and the metabolic syndrome, make connexins an essential part of the chain of events that leads to metabolic diseases. Here, we review the present state of knowledge about the molecular and cell biology of the connexin genes and proteins, their general mechanisms of action, the roles specific connexin species play in the endocrine pancreas and the major insulin-targeted organs, under physiological and patho-physiological conditions.
The absence of the transcriptional repressor RE-1 Silencing Transcription Factor (REST) in insulin-secreting beta cells is a major cue for the specific expression of a large number of genes. These REST target genes were largely ascribed to a function of neurotransmission in a neuronal context, whereas their role in pancreatic beta cells has been poorly explored. To identify their functional significance, we have generated transgenic mice expressing REST in beta cells (RIP-REST mice), and previously discovered that REST target genes are essential to insulin exocytosis. Herein we characterized a novel line of RIP-REST mice featuring diabetes. In diabetic RIP-REST mice, high levels of REST were associated with postnatal beta cell apoptosis, which resulted in gradual beta cell loss and sustained hyperglycemia in adults. Moreover, adenoviral REST transduction in INS-1E cells led to increased cell death under control conditions, and sensitized cells to death induced by cytokines. Screening for REST target genes identified several anti-apoptotic genes bearing the binding motif RE-1 that were downregulated upon REST expression in INS-1E cells, including Gjd2, Mapk8ip1, Irs2, Ptprn, and Cdk5r2. Decreased levels of Cdk5r2 in beta cells of RIP-REST mice further confirmed that it is controlled by REST, in vivo. Using siRNA-mediated knock-down in INS-1E cells, we showed that Cdk5r2 protects beta cells against cytokines and palmitate-induced apoptosis. Together, these data document that a set of REST target genes, including Cdk5r2, is important for beta cell survival.
The insulin-producing ? cells of pancreatic islets are coupled by connexin36 (Cx36) channels. To investigate what controls the expression of this connexin, we have investigated its pattern during mouse pancreas development, and the influence of three transcription factors that are critical for ?-cell development and differentiation. We show that (1) the Cx36 gene (Gjd2) is activated early in pancreas development and is markedly induced at the time of the surge of the transcription factors that determine ?-cell differentiation; (2) the cognate protein is detected about a week later and is selectively expressed by ? cells throughout the prenatal development of mouse pancreas; (3) a 2-kbp fragment of the Gjd2 promoter, which contains three E boxes for the binding of the bHLH factor Beta2/NeuroD1, ensures the expression of Cx36 by ? cells; and (4) Beta2/NeuroD1 binds to these E boxes and, in the presence of the E47 ubiquitous cofactor, transactivates the Gjd2 promoter. The data identify Cx36 as a novel early marker of ? cells and as a target of Beta2/NeuroD1, which is essential for ?-cell development and differentiation.
Endoplasmic reticulum (ER) homeostasis alteration contributes to pancreatic ?-cell dysfunction and death and favors the development of diabetes. In this study, we demonstrate that HDLs protect ?-cells against ER stress induced by thapsigargin, cyclopiazonic acid, palmitate, insulin overexpression, and high glucose concentrations. ER stress marker induction and ER morphology disruption mediated by these stimuli were inhibited by HDLs. Using a temperature-sensitive viral glycoprotein folding mutant, we show that HDLs correct impaired protein trafficking and folding induced by thapsigargin and palmitate. The ability of HDLs to protect ?-cells against ER stress was inhibited by brefeldin A, an ER to Golgi trafficking blocker. These results indicate that HDLs restore ER homeostasis in response to ER stress, which is required for their ability to promote ?-cell survival. This study identifies a cellular mechanism mediating the beneficial effect of HDLs on ?-cells against ER stress-inducing factors.
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