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Open access

Lilit Egshatyan, Daria Kashtanova, Anna Popenko, Olga Tkacheva, Alexander Tyakht, Dmitry Alexeev, Natalia Karamnova, Elena Kostryukova, Vladislav Babenko, Maria Vakhitova and Sergey Boytsov

Type 2 diabetes (T2D) is a serious disease. The gut microbiota (GM) has recently been identified as a new potential risk factor in addition to well-known diabetes risk factors. To investigate the GM composition in association with the dietary patterns in patients with different glucose tolerance, we analyzed 92 patients: with normal glucose tolerance (n=48), prediabetes (preD, n=24), and T2D (n=20). Metagenomic analysis was performed using 16S rRNA sequencing. The diet has been studied by a frequency method with a quantitative evaluation of food intake using a computer program. Microbiota in the samples was predominantly represented by Firmicutes, in a less degree by Bacteroidetes. Blautia was a dominant genus in all samples. The representation of Blautia, Serratia was lower in preD than in T2D patients, and even lower in those with normal glucose tolerance. After the clustering of the samples into groups according to the percentage of protein, fat, carbohydrates in the diet, the representation of the Bacteroides turned to be lower and Prevotella abundance turned to be higher in carbohydrate cluster. There were more patients with insulin resistance, T2D in the fat–protein cluster. Using the Calinski–Harabasz index identified the samples with more similar diets. It was discovered that half of the patients with a high-fat diet had normal tolerance, the others had T2D. The regression analysis showed that these T2D patients also had a higher representation of Blautia. Our study provides the further evidence concerning the structural modulation of the GM in the T2DM pathogenesis depending on the dietary patterns.

Open access

Taís S Assmann, Mariana Recamonde-Mendoza, Bianca M De Souza and Daisy Crispim

Growing evidence indicates that microRNAs (miRNAs) have a key role in processes involved in type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM) pathogenesis, including immune system functions and beta-cell metabolism and death. Although dysregulated miRNA profiles have been identified in T1DM patients, results are inconclusive; with only few miRNAs being consistently dysregulated among studies. Thus, we performed a systematic review of the literature on the subject, followed by bioinformatic analysis, to point out which miRNAs are dysregulated in T1DM-related tissues and in which pathways they act. PubMed and EMBASE were searched to identify all studies that compared miRNA expressions between T1DM patients and non-diabetic controls. Search was completed in August, 2017. Those miRNAs consistently dysregulated in T1DM-related tissues were submitted to bioinformatic analysis, using six databases of miRNA–target gene interactions to retrieve their putative targets and identify potentially affected pathways under their regulation. Thirty-three studies were included in the systematic review: 19 of them reported miRNA expressions in human samples, 13 in murine models and one in both human and murine samples. Among 278 dysregulated miRNAs reported in these studies, 25.9% were reported in at least 2 studies; however, only 48 of them were analyzed in tissues directly related to T1DM pathogenesis (serum/plasma, pancreas and peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs)). Regarding circulating miRNAs, 11 were consistently dysregulated in T1DM patients compared to controls: miR-21-5p, miR-24-3p, miR-100-5p, miR-146a-5p, miR-148a-3p, miR-150-5p, miR-181a-5p, miR-210-5p, miR-342-3p, miR-375 and miR-1275. The bioinformatic analysis retrieved a total of 5867 validated and 2979 predicted miRNA–target interactions for human miRNAs. In functional enrichment analysis of miRNA target genes, 77 KEGG terms were enriched for more than one miRNA. These miRNAs are involved in pathways related to immune system function, cell survival, cell proliferation and insulin biosynthesis and secretion. In conclusion, eleven circulating miRNAs seem to be dysregulated in T1DM patients in different studies, being potential circulating biomarkers of this disease.

Open access

Stavroula A Paschou, Nektaria Papadopoulou-Marketou, George P Chrousos and Christina Kanaka-Gantenbein

Type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM) results from the autoimmune destruction of β cells of the endocrine pancreas. Pathogenesis of T1DM is different from that of type 2 diabetes mellitus, where both insulin resistance and reduced secretion of insulin by the β cells play a synergistic role. We will present genetic, environmental and immunologic factors that destroy β cells of the endocrine pancreas and lead to insulin deficiency. The process of autoimmune destruction takes place in genetically susceptible individuals under the triggering effect of one or more environmental factors and usually progresses over a period of many months to years, during which period patients are asymptomatic and euglycemic, but positive for relevant autoantibodies. Symptomatic hyperglycemia and frank diabetes occur after a long latency period, which reflects the large percentage of β cells that need to be destroyed before overt diabetes become evident.

Open access

R Solomon-Zemler, L Basel-Vanagaite, D Steier, S Yakar, E Mel, M Phillip, L Bazak, D Bercovich, H Werner and L de Vries

Mutation in the insulin-like growth factor-1 receptor (IGF1R) gene is a rare cause for intrauterine and postnatal growth disorders. Patients identified with IGF1R mutations present with either normal or impaired glucose tolerance. None of the cases described so far showed hypoglycemia. We aimed to identify the genetic basis for small for gestational age, short stature and hypoglycemia over three generations in one family. The proband, a 9-year-old male, presented in infancy with recurrent hypoglycemic episodes, symmetric intrauterine growth retardation and postnatal growth retardation. Blood DNA samples from the patient, his parents, a maternal sister and maternal grandmother underwent Sanger sequencing of the IGF1R gene. Primary skin fibroblast cultures of the patient, his mother and age- and sex-matched control donors were used for gene expression and receptor functional analyses. We found a novel heterozygous mutation (c.94 + 1g > a, D1105E) affecting the splicing site of the IGF1R mRNA in the patient, his mother and his grandmother. Primary fibroblast cultures derived from the patient and his mother showed reduced proliferation and impaired activation of the IGF1R, evident by reduced IGF1R and AKT phosphorylation upon ligand binding. In conclusion, the newly identified heterozygous missense mutation in exon 1 of IGF1R (D1105E) results in impaired IGF1R function and is associated with small for gestational age, microcephaly and abnormal glucose metabolism. Further studies are required to understand the mechanisms by which this mutation leads to hypoglycemia.

Open access

Sara Ullsten, Sara Bohman, Marie E Oskarsson, K Peter R Nilsson, Gunilla T Westermark and Per-Ola Carlsson

Islet amyloid and beta cell death in type 2 diabetes are heterogeneous events, where some islets are affected early in the disease process, whereas others remain visibly unaffected. This study investigated the possibility that inter-islet functional and vascular differences may explain the propensity for amyloid accumulation in certain islets. Highly blood-perfused islets were identified by microspheres in human islet amyloid polypeptide expressing mice fed a high-fat diet for three or 10 months. These highly blood-perfused islets had better glucose-stimulated insulin secretion capacity than other islets and developed more amyloid deposits after 10 months of high-fat diet. Similarly, human islets with a superior release capacity formed more amyloid in high glucose culture than islets with a lower release capacity. The amyloid formation in mouse islets was associated with a higher amount of prohormone convertase 1/3 and with a decreased expression of its inhibitor proSAAS when compared to islets with less amyloid. In contrast, levels of prohormone convertase 2 and expression of its inhibitor neuroendocrine protein 7B2 were unaltered. A misbalance in prohormone convertase levels may interrupt the normal processing of islet amyloid polypeptide and induce amyloid formation. Preferential amyloid load in the most blood-perfused and functional islets may accelerate the progression of type 2 diabetes.

Open access

Darling M Rojas-Canales, Michaela Waibel, Aurelien Forget, Daniella Penko, Jodie Nitschke, Fran J Harding, Bahman Delalat, Anton Blencowe, Thomas Loudovaris, Shane T Grey, Helen E Thomas, Thomas W H Kay, Chris J Drogemuller, Nicolas H Voelcker and Patrick T Coates

Islet transplantation is currently the only minimally invasive therapy available for patients with type 1 diabetes that can lead to insulin independence; however, it is limited to only a small number of patients. Although clinical procedures have improved in the isolation and culture of islets, a large number of islets are still lost in the pre-transplant period, limiting the success of this treatment. Moreover, current practice includes islets being prepared at specialized centers, which are sometimes remote to the transplant location. Thus, a critical point of intervention to maintain the quality and quantity of isolated islets is during transportation between isolation centers and the transplanting hospitals, during which 20–40% of functional islets can be lost. The current study investigated the use of an oxygen-permeable PDMS microwell device for long-distance transportation of isolated islets. We demonstrate that the microwell device protected islets from aggregation during transport, maintaining viability and average islet size during shipping.

Open access

Tao Yuan, Lanping Jiang, Chen Chen, Xiaoyan Peng, Min Nie, Xuemei Li, Xiaoping Xing, Xuewang Li and Limeng Chen


Impaired glucose metabolism and insulin sensitivity have been reported in patients with Gitelman syndrome (GS), but insulin secretion and the related mechanisms are not well understood.

Design and methods

The serum glucose levels, insulin secretion and insulin sensitivity were evaluated in patients with GS (n = 28), patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus (DM) and healthy individuals (n = 20 in both groups) using an oral glucose tolerance test. Serum and urine sodium, potassium and creatinine levels were measured at 0, 30, 60, 120 and 180 min after an oral glucose load was administered.


The areas under the serum glucose curves were higher in the GS patients than those in the healthy controls (17.4 ± 5.1 mmol·h/L vs 14.5 ± 2.8 mmol·h/L, P = 0.02) but lower than those in the DM patients (24.8 ± 5.3 mmol·h/L, P < 0.001). The areas under the serum insulin curves and the insulin secretion indexes in GS patients were higher than those in DM patients and lower than those in healthy subjects. The insulin secretion-sensitivity index of GS patients was between that of healthy subjects and DM patients, but the insulin sensitivity indices were not different among the three groups. After one hour of glucose administration, the serum potassium level significantly decreased from baseline, and the urinary potassium-to-creatinine ratio increased gradually and peaked at 2 h.


Glucose metabolism and insulin secretion were impaired in GS patients, but insulin sensitivity was comparable between GS patients and patients with type 2 DM. After administration of an oral glucose load, the plasma potassium level decreased in GS patients due to the increased excretion of potassium in the urine.

Open access

Doron Weinstein, Rive Sarfstein, Zvi Laron and Haim Werner

Hyperinsulinemia is a major complication associated with the development of insulin resistance. In addition to its normal spectrum of metabolic effects, insulin can act as a growth factor and has the ability to promote mitogenic activity. Thus, hyperinsulinemia is regarded as a potentially important cancer risk factor among diabetic patients. However, the mechanisms of action of insulin in the specific context of prostate cancer (PCa) and, in particular, the specific receptor that mediates its actions have not been elucidated yet. The aims of this study were to investigate whether insulin can directly induce mitogenic activities in PCa-derived cell lines and to examine the mechanisms responsible for these actions. To this end, we used several PCa-derived cell lines, representing early and advanced stages of the disease. Our results indicated that insulin induces cell proliferation in a dose-dependent fashion in the LNCaP, C4-2, and P69 cell lines. We also demonstrated that insulin enabled LNCaP and C4-2 cells to progress through the cell cycle. Immunoprecipitation assays revealed that insulin activated the insulin receptor (INSR), but not the IGF1 receptor (IGF1R). In addition, INSR was able to compensate for and mediate IGF1 mitogenic signals following IGF1R inhibition. In conclusion, insulin exhibits direct mitogenic activities in PCa cells, which are mediated exclusively through the INSR. Further research is needed to fully dissect the molecular mechanisms underlying the biological actions of insulin in PCa.

Open access

Athanasios D Anastasilakis, Marina Tsoli, Gregory Kaltsas and Polyzois Makras

Langerhans cell histiocytosis (LCH) is a rare disease of not well-defined etiology that involves immune cell activation and frequently affects the skeleton. Bone involvement in LCH usually presents in the form of osteolytic lesions along with low bone mineral density. Various molecules involved in bone metabolism are implicated in the pathogenesis of LCH or may be affected during the course of the disease, including interleukins (ILs), tumor necrosis factor α, receptor activator of NF-κB (RANK) and its soluble ligand RANKL, osteoprotegerin (OPG), periostin and sclerostin. Among them IL-17A, periostin and RANKL have been proposed as potential serum biomarkers for LCH, particularly as the interaction between RANK, RANKL and OPG not only regulates bone homeostasis through its effects on the osteoclasts but also affects the activation and survival of immune cells. Significant changes in circulating and lesional RANKL levels have been observed in LCH patients irrespective of bone involvement. Standard LCH management includes local or systematic administration of corticosteroids and chemotherapy. Given the implication of RANK, RANKL and OPG in the pathogenesis of the disease and the osteolytic nature of bone lesions, agents aiming at inhibiting the RANKL pathway and/or osteoclastic activation, such as bisphosphonates and denosumab, may have a role in the therapeutic approach of LCH although further clinical investigation is warranted.

Open access

Selina Mäkinen, Yen H Nguyen, Paulina Skrobuk and Heikki A Koistinen

Saturated fatty acids are implicated in the development of insulin resistance, whereas unsaturated fatty acids may have a protective effect on metabolism. We tested in primary human myotubes if insulin resistance induced by saturated fatty acid palmitate can be ameliorated by concomitant exposure to unsaturated fatty acid oleate. Primary human myotubes were pretreated with palmitate, oleate or their combination for 12 h. Glucose uptake was determined by intracellular accumulation of [3H]-2-deoxy-d-glucose, insulin signalling and activation of endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress by Western blotting, and mitochondrial reactive oxygen species (ROS) production by fluorescent dye MitoSOX. Exposure of primary human myotubes to palmitate impaired insulin-stimulated Akt-Ser473, AS160 and GSK-3β phosphorylation, induced ER stress signalling target PERK and stress kinase JNK 54 kDa isoform. These effects were virtually abolished by concomitant exposure of palmitate-treated myotubes to oleate. However, an exposure to palmitate, oleate or their combination reduced insulin-stimulated glucose uptake. This was associated with increased mitochondrial ROS production in palmitate-treated myotubes co-incubated with oleate, and was alleviated by antioxidants MitoTempo and Tempol. Thus, metabolic and intracellular signalling events diverge in myotubes treated with palmitate and oleate. Exposure of human myotubes to excess fatty acids increases ROS production and induces insulin resistance.