Palmitate inhibition of insulin gene expression is mediated at the transcriptional level via ceramide synthesis

Cynthia L. Kelpe, Patrick C. Moore, Susan D. Parazzoli, Barton Wicksteed, Christopher J. Rhodes, Vincent Poitout*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

174 Scopus citations

Abstract

Chronic exposure to elevated levels of fatty acids impairs pancreatic beta cell function, a phenomenon thought to contribute to the progressive deterioration of insulin secretion in type 2 diabetes. We have previously demonstrated that prolonged exposure of isolated islets to elevated levels of palmitate inhibits preproinsulin mRNA levels in the presence of high glucose concentrations. However, whether this occurs via transcriptional or post-transcriptional mechanisms has not been determined. In addition, the nature of the lipid metabolites involved in palmitate inhibition of insulin gene expression is unknown. In this study, we show that palmitate decreases glucose-stimulated preproinsulin mRNA levels in isolated rat islets, an effect that is not mediated by changes in preproinsulin mRNA stability, but is associated with inhibition of glucose-stimulated insulin promoter activity. Prolonged culture of isolated islets with palmitate is associated with increased levels of intracellular ceramide. Palmitate-induced ceramide generation is prevented by inhibitors of de novo ceramide synthesis. Further, exogenous ceramide inhibits insulin mRNA levels, whereas blockade of de novo ceramide synthesis prevents palmitate inhibition of insulin gene expression. We conclude that prolonged exposure to elevated levels of palmitate affects glucose-stimulated insulin gene expression via transcriptional mechanisms and ceramide synthesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)30015-30021
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Volume278
Issue number32
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 8 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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