The anti-diabetic mechanisms by isoflavone genistein
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Diabetes is growing public health problem in the United States. Both in Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, the deterioration of glycemic control over time is largely due to insulin secretory dysfunction and significant loss of functional β-cells. As such, the search for novel agents that promote β-cell survival and preserve functional β-cell mass are one of the essential strategies to prevent and treat the onset of diabetes. Genistein, a flavonoid in legumes and some herbal medicines, has various biological actions. It was recently shown that dietary intake of foods containing genistein improves diabetes in both experimental animals and humans. However, the potential anti-diabetic mechanisms of genistein are unclear. In the present study, we first investigated the effect of genistein on β-cell insulin secretion and proliferation and cellular signaling related to these effects in vitro and in vivo. We then determined its anti-diabetic potential in insulin-deficient and obese diabetic mouse models. The results in our study showed that exposure of clonal insulin secreting (INS1E) cells or isolated pancreatic islets to genistein at physiologically relevant concentrations (1-10 μM) enhanced glucose-stimulated insulin secretion (GSIS), whereas insulin content was not altered, suggesting that genistein-enhanced GSIS is not due to a modulation of insulin synthesis. This genistein's effect is protein tyrosine kinase- and KATP channel-independent. In addition, genistein had no effect on glucose transporter-2 expression or cellular ATP production, but similarly augmented pyruvate-stimulated insulin secretion in INS1E cells, indicating that genistein improvement of insulin secretion in β-cells is not related to an alternation in glucose uptake or the glycolytic pathway. Further, genistein (1-10 μM) induced both INS1 and human islet β-cell proliferation following 24 h of incubation, with 5 μM genistein inducing a maximal 27% increase. The effect of genistein on β-cell proliferation was neither dependent on estrogen receptors, nor shared by 17β-estradiol or a host of structurally related flavonoid compounds. Pharmacological or molecular intervention of PKA or ERK1/2 completely abolished genistein-stimulated β-cell proliferation, suggesting that both molecules are essential for genistein action. Consistent with its effect on cell proliferation, genistein induced cAMP/PKA signaling and subsequent phosphorylation of ERK1/2 in both INS1 cells and human islets. Furthermore, genistein induced protein expression of cyclin D1, a major cell-cycle regulator essential for β-cell growth. Dietary intake of genistein significantly improved hyperglycemia, glucose tolerance, and blood insulin levels in both insulin deficient type 1 and obese type 2 diabetic mice, concomitant with improved islet β-cell proliferation, survival, and mass. These changes were not due to alternations in animal body weight gain, food intake, fat deposit, plasma lipid profile, or peripheral insulin sensitivity. Collectively, these findings provide better understanding of the mechanism underlying the anti-diabetic effects of genistein. Loss of functional β-cell mass through apoptosis is central to the development of both T1D and T2D and islet β-cell preservation and regeneration are very important components of β-cell adaptation to increased apoptosis and insulin resistance and therefore holds promise as a treatment for this disease. In this context, these findings may potentially lead to the development of novel low-cost natural agents for prevention and treatment of diabetes.
- Doctoral Dissertations