Opposing effects of IL-1β/COX-2/PGE2 pathway loop on islets in type 2 diabetes mellitus Academic Article uri icon

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  • The cyclooxygenase2 (COX-2) enzyme catalyzes the first step of prostanoid biosynthesis, and is known for its crucial role in the pathogenesis of several inflammatory diseases including type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). Although a variety of studies revealed that COX-2 played a role in the IL-1β induced β cell dysfunction, the molecular mechanism remains unclear. Here, using a cDNA microarray and in silico analysis, we demonstrated that inflammatory responses were upregulated in human T2DM islets compared with non-diabetic (ND) islets. COX-2 expression was significantly enhanced in human T2DM islets, correlated with the high inflammation level. PGE2, the catalytic product of COX-2, downregulated the functional gene expression of PDX1, NKX6.1, and MAFA and blunted the glucose induced insulin secretion of human islets. Conversely, inhibition of COX-2 activity by a pharmaceutical inhibitor prevented the β-cell dysfunction induced by IL-1β. COX-2 inhibitor also abrogated the IL-1β autostimulation in β cells, which further resulted in reduced COX-2 expression in β cells. Together, our results revealed that COX-2/PGE2 signaling was involved in the regulation of IL-1β autostimulation, thus forming an IL-1β/COX-2/PGE2 pathway loop, which may result in the high inflammation level in human T2DM islets and the inflammatory impairment of β cells. Breaking this IL-1β/COX-2/PGE2 pathway loop provides a potential therapeutic strategy to improve β cell function in the treatment of T2DM patients.


  • Wang, Guanqiao
  • Liang, Rui
  • Liu, Tengli
  • Wang, Le
  • Zou, Jiaqi
  • Liu, Na
  • Liu, Yan
  • Cai, Xiangheng
  • Liu, Yaojuan
  • Ding, Xuejie
  • Zhang, Boya
  • Wang, Zhiping
  • Wang, Shusen
  • Shen, Zhongyang

publication date

  • 2019