Cytokines activate the nuclear factor kappa B (NF-kappa B) and induce nitric oxide production in human pancreatic islets

FEBS Lett. 1996 Apr 29;385(1-2):4-6. doi: 10.1016/0014-5793(96)00337-7.


We studied the ability of cytokines to activate the nuclear transcription factor NF-kappaB in human pancreatic islets and the putative role of NF-kappaB for cytokine-induced NO production. Brief exposure (20 min) of human islets of Langerhans to a combination of interleukin-1beta + interferon-gamma + tumor necrosis factor-alpha induced a 2.6-fold increase in nuclear NF-kappaB activity in gel shift analysis. This increase was prevented by the NF-kappaB inhibitor, pyrrolidine dithiocarbamate (PDTC), which also counteracted NO production by human islets exposed for 14 h to the cytokine combination. High concentrations of interleukin-1beta alone (150 and 250 U/ml) increased NF-kappaB nuclear binding but failed to induce NO formation in human islets. The present data are the first to demonstrate that cytokines activate NF-kappaB in primary adult human pancreatic islets and suggest that activation of NF-kappaB may be a necessary but not sufficient signal for cytokine-induced iNOS expression in human islets of Langerhans.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cytokines / pharmacology*
  • DNA / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Islets of Langerhans / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • NF-kappa B / antagonists & inhibitors
  • NF-kappa B / metabolism*
  • Nitric Oxide / biosynthesis*
  • Pyrrolidines / pharmacology
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Thiocarbamates / pharmacology


  • Cytokines
  • NF-kappa B
  • Pyrrolidines
  • Thiocarbamates
  • pyrrolidine dithiocarbamic acid
  • Nitric Oxide
  • DNA