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Reactive oxygen species are produced at low glucose and contribute to the activation of AMPK in insulin-secreting cells.
Free Radical Biology and Medicine
Excess reactive oxygen species (ROS) production is thought to play a key role in the loss of pancreatic β-cell number and/or function, in response to high glucose and/or fatty acids. However, contradictory findings have been reported showing that in pancreatic β cells or insulin-secreting cell lines, ROS are produced under conditions of either high or low glucose. Superoxide production was measured in attached INS1E cells as a function of glucose concentration, by following in real time the oxidation of dihydroethidine. Minimal values of superoxide production were measured at glucose concentrations of 5-20 mM, whereas superoxide generation was maximal at 0-1 mM glucose. Superoxide generation started rapidly (15-30 min) after exposure to low glucose and was suppressed by its addition within minutes. Superoxide was totally suppressed by rotenone, but not myxothiazol, suggesting a role for complex I in this process. Indirect evidence for mitochondrial ROS generation was also provided by a decrease in aconitase activity. Activation of AMPK, a cellular metabolic sensor, and its downstream target ACC by low glucose concentration was largely inhibited by addition of MnTBAP, a MnSOD and catalase mimetic that also totally suppressed superoxide production. Taken together, the data show that low glucose activates AMPK in a superoxide-dependent, AMP-independent way.
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