Impact of mitochondrial ROS production in the pathogenesis of diabetes mellitus and its complications

Antioxid Redox Signal. 2007 Mar;9(3):343-53. doi: 10.1089/ars.2006.1458.


In this review, the impacts of mitochondrial reactive oxygen species (ROS) on diabetes and its complications are described. In endothelial cells, high-glucose treatment increases mitochondrial ROS and normalization of the ROS production by inhibitors of mitochondrial metabolism, or by overexpression of UCP-1 or MnSOD, prevents glucose-induced activation of PKC, formation of AGE, and accumulation of sorbitol, all of which are believed to be the main molecular mechanisms of diabetic complications. Glomerular hyperfiltration, one of the characteristics of early diabetic nephropathy, may be caused by mitochondrial ROS through activation of COX-2 gene transcription, followed by PGE2 overproduction. In pancreatic beta cells, hyperglycemia also increases mitochondrial ROS, which suppresses the first phase of glucose-induced insulin secretion, at least in part, through the suppression of GAPDH activity. In liver cells, similar to that in hyperglycemia, TNF-alpha increases mitochondrial ROS, which in turn activates apoptosis signal-regulating kinase 1 (ASK1) and c-jun NH2-terminal kinases (JNK), increases serine phosphorylation of IRS-1, and decreases insulin-stimulated tyrosine phosphorylation of IRS-1, leading to insulin resistance. These results suggest the importance of mitochondrial ROS in the pathogenesis of diabetes mellitus and its complications through modification of various cellular events in many tissues, including vessels, kidney, pancreatic beta cells, and liver.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • AMP-Activated Protein Kinases
  • Blood Glucose / analysis
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / metabolism*
  • Electron Transport
  • Humans
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Islets of Langerhans / metabolism
  • Mitochondria / enzymology
  • Mitochondria / metabolism*
  • Multienzyme Complexes / metabolism
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases / metabolism
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism*


  • Blood Glucose
  • Multienzyme Complexes
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • AMP-Activated Protein Kinases