Turkish Journal of Biology




Type 2 diabetes mellitus is characterized by insulin resistance and hypersecretion of insulin from the pancreas to compensate for decreased insulin sensitivity in the peripheral tissues. In later stages of the disease insulin-secreting beta cell degeneration commences and patients require insulin replacement therapy in order to accomplish proper regulation of their blood glucose. Endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress in the beta cells is one of the factors contributing to this detrimental effect. Protein kinase R (PKR) is a cellular stress kinase activated by ER stress and contributing to degeneration of pancreatic islets. In order to determine whether inhibition of PKR activation by specific small molecule inhibitors of PKR ameliorates pancreatic insulin secretion capacity, we treated beta cells with two imidazole/oxindole-derived inhibitors of PKR kinase, imoxin (C16) and 2-aminopurine (2-AP), in the presence of ER stress. Our results demonstrate that PKR inhibition suppresses tunicamycin-mediated ER stress without altering the insulin production capacity of the cells. Palmitic acid-mediated suppression of insulin secretion, however, was subdued significantly by PKR inhibitor treatment through an ER stress-related mechanism. We suggest that PKR inhibitor treatment may be used to increase the insulin secretion capacity of the pancreas in later stages of diabetes.


Type 2 diabetes, protein kinase R, ER stress, ß cell degeneration

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