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Diabetes Metab J : Diabetes & Metabolism Journal



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Hypoxia Increases β-Cell Death by Activating Pancreatic Stellate Cells within the Islet
Jong Jin Kim, Esder Lee, Gyeong Ryul Ryu, Seung-Hyun Ko, Yu-Bae Ahn, Ki-Ho Song
Diabetes Metab J. 2020;44(6):919-927.   Published online May 11, 2020
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AbstractAbstract PDFPubReader   ePub   

Hypoxia can occur in pancreatic islets in type 2 diabetes mellitus. Pancreatic stellate cells (PSCs) are activated during hypoxia. Here we aimed to investigate whether PSCs within the islet are also activated in hypoxia, causing β-cell injury.


Islet and primary PSCs were isolated from Sprague Dawley rats, and cultured in normoxia (21% O2) or hypoxia (1% O2). The expression of α-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA), as measured by immunostaining and Western blotting, was used as a marker of PSC activation. Conditioned media (hypoxia-CM) were obtained from PSCs cultured in hypoxia.


Islets and PSCs cultured in hypoxia exhibited higher expressions of α-SMA than did those cultured in normoxia. Hypoxia increased the production of reactive oxygen species. The addition of N-acetyl-L-cysteine, an antioxidant, attenuated the hypoxia-induced PSC activation in islets and PSCs. Islets cultured in hypoxia-CM showed a decrease in cell viability and an increase in apoptosis.


PSCs within the islet are activated in hypoxia through oxidative stress and promote islet cell death, suggesting that hypoxia-induced PSC activation may contribute to β-cell loss in type 2 diabetes mellitus.


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