Background: Type 2 diabetes often displays hyperlipidemia. We examined palmitate effects on pancreatic islet function in relation to FFA receptor GPR40, NO generation, insulin release, and the PPARgamma agonistic thiazolidinedione, rosiglitazone.
Principal findings: Rosiglitazone suppressed acute palmitate-stimulated GPR40-transduced PI hydrolysis in HEK293 cells and insulin release from MIN6c cells and mouse islets. Culturing islets 24 h with palmitate at 5 mmol/l glucose induced beta-cell iNOS expression as revealed by confocal microscopy and increased the activities of ncNOS and iNOS associated with suppression of glucose-stimulated insulin response. Rosiglitazone reversed these effects. The expression of iNOS after high-glucose culturing was unaffected by rosiglitazone. Downregulation of GPR40 by antisense treatment abrogated GPR40 expression and suppressed palmitate-induced iNOS activity and insulin release.
Conclusion: We conclude that, in addition to mediating acute FFA-stimulated insulin release, GPR40 is an important regulator of iNOS expression and dysfunctional insulin release during long-term exposure to FFA. The adverse effects of palmitate were counteracted by rosiglitazone at GPR40, suggesting that thiazolidinediones are beneficial for beta-cell function in hyperlipidemic type 2 diabetes.