Background: An increase in the expression of transforming growth factor-beta 1 (TGF-beta 1) has been proposed to play an important role in the excessive production of extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins seen in diabetes. Because the linkage between glucose metabolism and ECM protein production was found in mesangial cells overexpressed with the brain-type glucose transporter (GLUT1), we hypothesized that TGF-beta 1 could affect glucose metabolism.
Methods: To prove this hypothesis, we examined the effect of TGF-beta 1 on glucose uptake, the first step of glucose metabolism, in mesangial cells. 2-Deoxy-D-glucose (2DOG) uptake and the expression of GLUT1 were measured in mesangial cells exposed to various concentrations of TGF-beta 1. The kinetic constants were determined using 2DOG and 3-O-methyl-D-glucose (3OMG). The effect of anti-TGF-beta neutralizing antibody on 2DOG uptake and GLUT1 mRNA was also examined in mesangial cells cultured under high-glucose (22.2 mM) conditions for 72 hours.
Results: TGF-beta 1 stimulated 2DOG uptake in mesangial cells by approximately 2.5-fold in a dose- (1.25 ng/ml maximum) and time-dependent manner, with a peak stimulation at nine hours. The increase in 2DOG uptake by TGF-beta 1 was completely abolished by the addition of 1 microgram/ml cycloheximide, and kinetic analysis of 2DOG or 3OMG uptake revealed an increase in Vmax by TGF-beta 1. Furthermore, TGF-beta 1 enhanced the expression of GLUT1 mRNA from one hour, followed by an enhancement of the expression of GLUT1 protein at nine hours. Finally, 2DOG uptake was significantly enhanced in cells cultured under high-glucose (22.2 mM) conditions as compared with that in cells under normal glucose (5.6 mM) conditions, and this increase in 2DOG uptake in cells under high-glucose conditions was inhibited by the addition of anti-TGF-beta neutralizing antibody.
Conclusions: TGF-beta 1 stimulates glucose uptake by enhancing the expression of GLUT1 in mesangial cells, which leads to the acceleration of intracellular metabolic abnormalities in diabetes.