The aim of this study was to determine the effect of long-term in vitro exposure to high glucose on the release and content of proinsulin and insulin in human islets. After 48 h culture in CMRL medium at 5.5 mM (control islets) and 16.7 mM glucose (experimental islets), islets were perifused and acutely stimulated with 16.7 mM glucose, followed by 3.3 mM glucose. Compared with control islets, experimental islets showed a higher basal release of true insulin and proinsulin-like-molecules (PLM), with no increase of true insulin and PLM release in response to 16.7 mM glucose, and a paradoxical true insulin release in response to 3.3 mM glucose; the PLM/total insulin ratio increased significantly after 16.7 mM glucose. Moreover these islets showed a decreased true insulin content and an increased PLM/total insulin ratio. Quantitative ultrastructural analysis of granules, supported by double gold immunostaining with monoclonal antibodies against proinsulin and insulin, showed an increased proinsulin to insulin ratio in β-cells from experimental islets. These data support in vitro what was recently shown in vivo, and further confirm that culture in high glucose is a useful tool to mimic the effect of in vivo chronic hyperglycemia on human β-cell function.
ASJC Scopus subject areas