Butyrate protects pancreatic beta cells from cytokine-induced dysfunction

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Pancreatic beta cell dysfunction caused by metabolic and inflammatory stress contributes to the development of type 2 diabetes (T2D). Butyrate, produced by the gut microbiota, has shown beneficial effects on glucose metabolism in animals and humans and may directly affect beta cell function, but the mechanisms are poorly described. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of butyrate on cytokine-induced beta cell dysfunction in vitro. Mouse islets, rat INS-1E, and human EndoC-βH1 beta cells were exposed long-term to non-cytotoxic concentrations of cytokines and/or butyrate to resemble the slow onset of inflammation in T2D. Beta cell function was assessed by glucose-stimulated insulin secretion (GSIS), gene expression by qPCR and RNA-sequencing, and proliferation by incorporation of EdU into newly synthesized DNA. Butyrate protected beta cells from cytokine-induced impairment of GSIS and insulin content in the three beta cell models. Beta cell proliferation was reduced by both cytokines and butyrate. Expressions of the beta cell specific genes Ins, MafA, and Ucn3 reduced by the cytokine IL-1β were not affected by butyrate. In contrast, butyrate upregulated the expression of secretion/transport-related genes and downregulated inflammatory genes induced by IL-1β in mouse islets. In summary, butyrate prevents pro-inflammatory cytokine-induced beta cell dysfunction.

Original languageEnglish
Article number10427
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number19
Number of pages18
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

    Research areas

  • Beta cell, Butyrate, Cytokines, Inflammation, Insulin secretion

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