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Maintaining blood glucose homeostasis is a complex process that depends on pancreatic islet hormone secretion. Hormone secretion from islets is coupled to calcium entry which results from regenerative islet cell electrical activity. Therefore, the ionic mechanisms that regulate calcium entry into islet cells are crucial for maintaining normal glucose homeostasis. Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), including five located in or near ion-channel or associated subunit genes, which show an association with human diseases characterized by dysglycemia. This review focuses on polymorphisms and mutations in ion-channel genes that are associated with perturbations in human glucose homeostasis and discusses their potential roles in modulating pancreatic islet hormone secretion.
Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
The renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (RAAS) is inappropriately activated in obesity. In individuals at risk for diabetes, RAAS inhibition protects against kidney and heart disease, and also reduces the incidence of diabetes in large clinical trials. At a cellular level, angiotensin II (Ang II) and aldosterone induce insulin resistance by increasing oxidative stress and altering insulin signaling, leading to decreased glucose transport. Ang II also contributes to oxidative stress, inflammation, and apoptosis in pancreatic β cells. Aldosterone diminishes glucose-stimulated insulin secretion in vivo and in vitro from isolated pancreatic islets and cultured β cells through a mineralocorticoid receptor (MR)-independent mechanism. We review these findings in the context of pharmacological strategies interrupting the RAAS to highlight the potential application of these strategies to the prevention of diabetes progression.
Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Human disease is heterogeneous, with similar disease phenotypes resulting from distinct combinations of genetic and environmental factors. Small-molecule profiling can address disease heterogeneity by evaluating the underlying biologic state of individuals through non-invasive interrogation of plasma metabolite levels. We analyzed metabolite profiles from an oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) in 50 individuals, 25 with normal (NGT) and 25 with impaired glucose tolerance (IGT). Our focus was to elucidate underlying biologic processes. Although we initially found little overlap between changed metabolites and preconceived definitions of metabolic pathways, the use of unbiased network approaches identified significant concerted changes. Specifically, we derived a metabolic network with edges drawn between reactant and product nodes in individual reactions and between all substrates of individual enzymes and transporters. We searched for "active modules"--regions of the metabolic network enriched for changes in metabolite levels. Active modules identified relationships among changed metabolites and highlighted the importance of specific solute carriers in metabolite profiles. Furthermore, hierarchical clustering and principal component analysis demonstrated that changed metabolites in OGTT naturally grouped according to the activities of the System A and L amino acid transporters, the osmolyte carrier SLC6A12, and the mitochondrial aspartate-glutamate transporter SLC25A13. Comparison between NGT and IGT groups supported blunted glucose- and/or insulin-stimulated activities in the IGT group. Using unbiased pathway models, we offer evidence supporting the important role of solute carriers in the physiologic response to glucose challenge and conclude that carrier activities are reflected in individual metabolite profiles of perturbation experiments. Given the involvement of transporters in human disease, metabolite profiling may contribute to improved disease classification via the interrogation of specific transporter activities.
The behavioral effects of psychomotor stimulants such as amphetamine (AMPH) arise from their ability to elicit increases in extracellular dopamine (DA). These AMPH-induced increases are achieved by DA transporter (DAT)-mediated transmitter efflux. Recently, we have shown that AMPH self-administration is reduced in rats that have been depleted of insulin with the diabetogenic agent streptozotocin (STZ). In vitro studies suggest that hypoinsulinemia may regulate the actions of AMPH by inhibiting the insulin downstream effectors phosphotidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) and protein kinase B (PKB, or Akt), which we have previously shown are able to fine-tune DAT cell-surface expression. Here, we demonstrate that striatal Akt function, as well as DAT cell-surface expression, are significantly reduced by STZ. In addition, our data show that the release of DA, determined by high-speed chronoamperometry (HSCA) in the striatum, in response to AMPH, is severely impaired in these insulin-deficient rats. Importantly, selective inhibition of PI3K with LY294002 within the striatum results in a profound reduction in the subsequent potential for AMPH to evoke DA efflux. Consistent with our biochemical and in vivo electrochemical data, findings from functional magnetic resonance imaging experiments reveal that the ability of AMPH to elicit positive blood oxygen level-dependent signal changes in the striatum is significantly blunted in STZ-treated rats. Finally, local infusion of insulin into the striatum of STZ-treated animals significantly recovers the ability of AMPH to stimulate DA release as measured by high-speed chronoamperometry. The present studies establish that PI3K signaling regulates the neurochemical actions of AMPH-like psychomotor stimulants. These data suggest that insulin signaling pathways may represent a novel mechanism for regulating DA transmission, one which may be targeted for the treatment of AMPH abuse and potentially other dopaminergic disorders.
To better understand how glucokinase (GK) missense mutations associated with human glycemic diseases perturb glucose homeostasis, we generated and characterized mice with either an activating (A456V) or inactivating (K414E) mutation in the gk gene. Animals with these mutations exhibited alterations in their blood glucose concentration that were inversely related to the relative activity index of GK. Moreover, the threshold for glucose-stimulated insulin secretion from islets with either the activating or inactivating mutation were left- or right-shifted, respectively. However, we were surprised to find that mice with the activating mutation had markedly reduced amounts of hepatic GK activity. Further studies of bacterially expressed mutant enzymes revealed that GK(A456V) is as stable as the wild type enzyme, whereas GK(K414E) is thermolabile. However, the ability of GK regulatory protein to inhibit GK(A456V) was found to be less than that of the wild type enzyme, a finding consistent with impaired hepatic nuclear localization. Taken together, this study indicates that it is necessary to have knowledge of both thermolability and the interactions of mutant GK enzymes with GK regulatory protein when attempting to predict in vivo glycemic phenotypes based on the measurement of enzyme kinetics.