Pharmaceutical Protection of Beta-Cells in Diabetes : Using Tyrosine Kinase Inhibition and NOX4 Inhibitors

Sammanfattning: Diabetes mellitus is a complex and heterogenous disease, with loss of beta-cell function and mass being a characteristic of not only type 1 diabetes (T1D), but also type 2 diabetes (T2D). In T1D, inappropriate inflammatory signaling is thought to participate in the autoimmune suppression and destruction of beta-cells. In T2D progressive insulin resistance with resulting glucolipotoxicity, increased inflammation and oxidative stress, drives islet amyloid formation and subsequent beta-cell exhaustion and failure. Even under best managed care, disease progression and eventual complications are unavoidable. New interventions that aim to improve beta-cell survival are highly needed. This thesis investigates two such possible interventions: the tyrosine kinase inhibitor Imatinib, and selective NADPH-oxidase inhibition.Imatinib mesylate, used in treatment of chronic myeloid leukemia and other malignancies, was soon after its introduction reported to possess anti-diabetic properties in both T1D and T2D patients undergoing treatment. Imatinib has been shown to prevent and reverse diabetes in NOD mice and improve glucose tolerance in high fat diet treated rats. In paper I, we aimed to characterize the mechanisms by which imatinib protects beta-cells. We found that imatinib inhibits complex I and II of the respiratory chain, leading to improved beta-cell survival through AMPK activation, reduced amyloid formation and protection against TXNIP upregulation.Oxidative stress may play a pivotal role in the development of beta-cell dysfunction and failure in T2D. The NADPH-oxidases are a family of 7 enzymes (NOX1-5 and DUOX 1-2), that produce reactive oxygen species that are important in various physiological processes but may, if excessively activated, also be a source for oxidative stress in T2D. In paper II, we evaluate novel selective NOX inhibitors as protective agents against in vitro induced human beta-cell stress. Selective NOX4 inhibition protected beta-cells against both cytokines and high-glucose + palmitate. In paper III we found that NOX4 inhibition increased mitochondrial membrane potential, mitochondrial reactive oxygen species and ATP/ADP ratio in a human beta-cell line, and this was paralleled with protection against human islet cell death when challenged with high-glucose and palmitate. Finally, in paper IV, we attempt to apply these findings in vivo, by transplanting athymic diabetic mice with human islets and treating them with a NOX4 inhibitor over a period of 4 weeks. Treated mice achieved lower blood glucose levels and water consumption throughout the treatment period, and apoptotic rates of insulin-positive human cells, measured as co-localization of insulin and cleaved caspase-3, were greatly reduced.