Molecular nutrition & food research

Phenylpropenoic acid glucoside augments pancreatic beta cell mass in high-fat diet-fed mice and protects beta cells from ER stress-induced apoptosis.

PMID 25044754


A major goal of diabetes therapy is to identify novel drugs that preserve or expand pancreatic beta cell mass. Here, we examined the effect of a phenylpropenoic acid glucoside (PPAG) on the beta cell mass, and via which mechanism this effect is established. Mice were fed a high-fat and fructose-containing diet to induce obesity and hyperglycemia. PPAG treatment protected obese mice from diet-induced hyperglycemia and resulted in a tripling of beta cell mass. The effect of the phytochemical on beta cell mass was neither due to increased proliferation, as determined by Ki67 immunostaining, nor to neogenesis, which was assessed by genetic lineage tracing. TUNEL staining revealed suppressed apoptosis in PPAG-treated obese mice. In vitro, PPAG protected beta cells from palmitate-induced apoptosis. It protected beta cells against ER stress by increasing expression of antiapoptotic B-cell lymphoma 2 (BCL2) protein without affecting proapoptotic signals. We identified an antidiabetic phytochemical that protects pancreatic beta cells from ER stress and apoptosis induced by high-fat diet/lipotoxicity. At the tissue level, this led to a tripling of beta cell mass. At the molecular level, the protective effect of the phytochemical was mediated by increasing BCL2 expression in beta cells.