Mitochondrial redox impairment and enhanced autophagy in peripheral blood mononuclear cells from type 1 diabetic patients

Redox Biol. 2022 Dec:58:102551. doi: 10.1016/j.redox.2022.102551. Epub 2022 Nov 24.


Type 1 diabetes (T1D) involves critical metabolic disturbances that contribute to an increased cardiovascular risk. Leukocytes are key players in the onset of atherosclerosis due to their interaction with the endothelium. However, whether mitochondrial redox impairment, altered bioenergetics and abnormal autophagy in leukocytes contribute to T1D physiopathology is unclear. In this study we aimed to evaluate the bioenergetic and redox state of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) from T1D patients in comparison to those from healthy subjects, and to assess autophagy induction and leukocyte-endothelial interactions. T1D patients presented lower levels of fast-acting and total antioxidants in their blood, and their leukocytes produced higher amounts of total reactive oxygen species (ROS) and superoxide radical with respect to controls. Basal and ATP-linked respiration were similar in PBMCs from T1D and controls, but T1D PBMCs exhibited reduced spare respiratory capacity and a tendency toward decreased maximal respiration and reduced non-mitochondrial respiration, compared to controls. The autophagy markers P-AMPK, Beclin-1 and LC3-II/LC3-I were increased, while P62 and NBR1 were decreased in T1D PBMCs versus those from controls. Leukocytes from T1D patients displayed lower rolling velocity, higher rolling flux and more adhesion to the endothelium versus controls. Our findings show that T1D impairs mitochondrial function and promotes oxidative stress and autophagy in leukocytes, and suggest that these mechanisms contribute to an increased risk of atherosclerosis by augmenting leukocyte-endothelial interactions.

Keywords: Autophagy; Diabetes; Mitochondrial respiration; Oxidative stress; PBMC; ROS.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Atherosclerosis* / metabolism
  • Autophagy
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1* / metabolism
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2* / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Leukocytes / metabolism
  • Leukocytes, Mononuclear / metabolism
  • Mitochondria / metabolism
  • Oxidation-Reduction