Decreased levels of metabolic enzymes in pancreatic islets of patients with type 2 diabetes.

PMID 19296078


Glucose-stimulated insulin secretion is defective in patients with type 2 diabetes. We sought to acquire new information about enzymes of glucose metabolism, with an emphasis on mitochondrial enzymes, by comparing pancreatic islets of type 2 diabetes patients with those of non-diabetic controls. Expression of genes encoding 13 metabolic enzymes was estimated with microarrays and activities of up to nine metabolic enzymes were measured. The activities of the mitochondrial enzymes, glycerol phosphate dehydrogenase, pyruvate carboxylase (PC) and succinyl-CoA:3-ketoacid-CoA transferase (SCOT) were decreased by 73%, 65% and 92%, respectively, in the diabetic compared with the non-diabetic islets. ATP citrate lyase, a cytosolic enzyme of the mitochondrial citrate pyruvate shuttle, was decreased 57%. Activities of propionyl-CoA carboxylase, NADP-isocitrate dehydrogenase, cytosolic malic enzyme, aspartate aminotransferase and malate dehydrogenase were not significantly different from those of the control. The low activities of PC and SCOT were confirmed with western blots, which showed that their protein levels were low. The correlation of relative mRNA signals with enzyme activities was good in four instances, moderate in four instances and poor in one instance. In diabetic islets, the mRNA signal of the islet cell-enriched transcription factor musculoaponeurotic fibrosarcoma oncogene homologue A, which regulates expression of islet genes, including the PC gene, was decreased to 54% of the control level. PC activity and protein levels in the non-diabetic islets were significantly lower than in islets from non-diabetic rodents. Low levels of certain islet metabolic enzymes, especially mitochondrial enzymes, are associated with human type 2 diabetes.