Riboflavin inhibits IL-6 expression and p38 activation in islet cells

Lorenzo Cobianchi, Alessia Fornoni, Antonello Pileggi, R. Damaris Molano, Nahir Y. Sanabria, Jorge Gonzalez-Quintana, Nicola Bocca, Simona Marzorati, Elsie Zahr, Anthony R. Hogan, Camillo Ricordi, Luca Inverardi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Riboflavin is a water-soluble vitamin that reduces the production of proinflammatory mediators and oxygen radicals. Because islet β-cells are very sensitive to oxidative stress and to cytokines, we investigated the possible cytoprotective effects of riboflavin on insulinoma NIT-1 cells and on isolated rodent islets. NIT-1 cells and islets cultured in the presence or absence of 10 μM riboflavin were studied at baseline and after exposure to cytokines (TNF-α, IL-1β, INF-γ). Riboflavin treatment did not affect islet cell viability as assessed by flow cytometry for caspases activation. However, riboflavin prevented the cytokine-induced increase in IL-6 mRNA expression and p38 phosphorylation analyzed by real-time PCR and immunoassay, respectively. In summary, nontoxic doses of riboflavin prevent cytokines-induced p38 phosphorylation and IL-6 upregulation in islet cells. This observation, together with the safety profile of riboflavin in the clinical setting, makes it an appealing agent for islet cytoprotection in islet transplantation protocols.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)558-566
Number of pages9
JournalCell Transplantation
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2008


  • Cytoprotection
  • IL-6 p38
  • Inflammation
  • Pancreatic islets
  • Riboflavin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology
  • Transplantation
  • Biomedical Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'Riboflavin inhibits IL-6 expression and p38 activation in islet cells'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this