Low methyl-esterified pectin protects pancreatic β-cells against diabetes-induced oxidative and inflammatory stress via galectin-3

Carbohydr Polym. 2020 Dec 1;249:116863. doi: 10.1016/j.carbpol.2020.116863. Epub 2020 Aug 6.


Insufficient intake of dietary fibers in Western societies is considered a major contributing factor in the high incidence rates of diabetes. The dietary fiber pectin has been suggested to be beneficial for management of both Diabetes Type 1 and Type 2, but mechanisms and effects of pectin on insulin producing pancreatic β-cells are unknown. Our study aimed to determine the effects of lemon pectins with different degree of methyl-esterification (DM) on β-cells under oxidative (streptozotocin) and inflammatory (cytokine) stress and to elucidate the underlying rescuing mechanisms, including effects on galectin-3. We found that specific pectins had rescuing effects on toxin and cytokine induced stress on β-cells but effects depended on the pectin concentration and DM-value. Protection was more pronounced with low DM5 pectin and was enhanced with higher pectin-concentrations. Our findings show that specific pectins might prevent diabetes by making insulin producing β-cells less susceptible for stress.

Keywords: Dietary pectin; Galectin-3; Inflammatory cytokine; Islet β-cell; Streptozotocin; Type 1 Diabetes.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Experimental / complications*
  • Esterification
  • Galectin 3 / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / drug therapy*
  • Inflammation / etiology
  • Inflammation / pathology
  • Insulin-Secreting Cells / drug effects*
  • Insulin-Secreting Cells / pathology
  • Methylation
  • Mice
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects*
  • Pectins / chemistry
  • Pectins / pharmacology*
  • Protective Agents / pharmacology*


  • Galectin 3
  • Protective Agents
  • Pectins