Metabolic Syndrome and Acute Hyperglycemia Are Associated With Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress in Human Mononuclear Cells
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Endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress and the activation of the unfolded protein response (UPR) have been implicated in a number of complications associated with diabetes mellitus including micro- and macrovascular dysfunction. In this study we examine ER stress levels in blood cells isolated from human subjects with metabolic syndrome and in healthy controls. Total RNA and protein were isolated from leukocytes and the levels of specific ER stress markers were quantified by real-time-PCR and immunoblot analysis. Our results indicate that, compared to healthy controls, individuals with metabolic syndrome have elevated mRNA levels of genes indicative of ER stress; including spliced XBP-1 (sXBP-1), Grp78, and CHOP. Induced ER stress levels correlate with blood glucose but not plasma lipid concentration. Furthermore, in healthy individuals, a standard 75 g oral glucose challenge produced a significant elevation in spliced XBP-1 (1.3 fold), Grp78 (2.0 fold), and calreticulin (3.5 fold) mRNA 60 min post challenge and a significant increase in Grp78 (2.0 fold), calreticulin (2.7 fold) protein levels 2 h postchallenge, relative to fasting levels. The UPR was also activated ex vivo, in human leukocytes cultured in the presence of 15 mmol/l glucose, supporting a specific role for glucose. The oral glucose challenge was associated with a significant increase in the expression of inflammatory cytokines, including interleukin (IL)-1α/β, IL-6, and IL-8, that may result from ER stress. These findings suggest that there is an association between both acute and chronic dysglycemia and ER stress in humans.
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