Aims/hypothesis: We determined whether high-glucose-induced beta cell dysfunction is associated with oxidative stress in the DBA/2 mouse, a mouse strain susceptible to islet failure.
Materials and methods: Glucose- and non-glucose-mediated insulin secretion from the islets of DBA/2 and control C57BL/6 mice was determined following a 48-h exposure to high glucose. Flux via the hexosamine biosynthesis pathway was assessed by determining O-glycosylated protein levels. Oxidative stress was determined by measuring hydrogen peroxide levels and the expression of anti-oxidant enzymes.
Results: Exposure to high glucose levels impaired glucose-stimulated insulin secretion in DBA/2 islets but not C57BL/6 islets, and this was associated with reduced islet insulin content and lower ATP levels than in C57BL/6 islets. Exposure of islets to glucosamine for 48 h mimicked the effects of high glucose on insulin secretion in the DBA/2 islets. High glucose exposure elevated O-glycosylated proteins; however, this occurred in islets from both strains, excluding a role for O-glycosylation in the impairment of DBA/2 insulin secretion. Additionally, both glucosamine and high glucose caused an increase in hydrogen peroxide in DBA/2 islets but not in C57BL/6 islets, an effect prevented by the antioxidant N-acetyl-L: -cysteine. Interestingly, while glutathione peroxidase and catalase expression was comparable between the two strains, the antioxidant enzyme manganese superoxide dismutase, which converts superoxide to hydrogen peroxide, was increased in DBA/2 islets, possibly explaining the increase in hydrogen peroxide levels.
Conclusions/interpretation: Chronic high glucose culture caused an impairment in glucose-stimulated insulin secretion in DBA/2 islets, which have a genetic predisposition to failure, and this may be the result of oxidative stress.