The Journal of endocrinology

Increased serum CXCL1 and CXCL5 are linked to obesity, hyperglycemia, and impaired islet function.

PMID 24928936


Proinflammatory cytokines are thought to play a significant role in the pathogenesis of type 2 diabetes (T2D) and are elevated in the circulation even before the onset of the disease. However, the full complement of cytokines involved in the development of T2D is not known. In this study, 32 serum cytokines were measured from diabetes-prone BKS.Cg-m+/+Lepr(db)/J (db/db) mice and heterozygous age-matched control mice at 5 weeks (non-diabetic/non-obese), 6-7 weeks (transitional-to-diabetes), or 11 weeks (hyperglycemic/obese) and then correlated with body weight, blood glucose, and fat content. Among these 32 cytokines, C-X-C motif ligand 1 (CXCL1) showed the greatest increase (+78%) in serum levels between db/db mice that were hyperglycemic (blood glucose: 519±23 mg/dl, n=6) and those that were non-hyperglycemic (193±13 mg/dl, n=8). Similarly, increased CXCL1 (+68%) and CXCL5 (+40%) were associated with increased obesity in db/db mice; note that these effects could not be entirely separated from age. We then examined whether islets could be a source of these chemokines. Exposure to cytokines mimicking low-grade systemic inflammation (10 pg/ml IL1β+20 pg/ml IL6) for 48 h upregulated islet CXCL1 expression by 53±3-fold and CXCL5 expression by 83±10-fold (n=4, P<0.001). Finally, overnight treatment with the combination of CXCL1 and CXCL5 at serum levels was sufficient to produce a significant decrease in the peak calcium response to glucose stimulation, suggesting reduced islet function. Our findings demonstrated that CXCL1 and CXCL5 i) are increased in the circulation with the onset of T2D, ii) are produced by islets under stress, and iii) synergistically affect islet function, suggesting that these chemokines participate in the pathogenesis of T2D.