Angiotensin II Induces Interleukin-1β–Mediated Islet Inflammation and β-Cell Dysfunction Independently of Vasoconstrictive Effects
Pathological activation of the renin-angiotensin system (RAS) is associated with the metabolic syndrome, and the new onset of type 2 diabetes can be delayed by RAS inhibition. In animal models of type 2 diabetes, inhibition of the RAS improves insulin secretion. However, the direct effects of angiotensin II on islet function and underlying mechanisms independent of changes in blood pressure remain unclear. Here we show that exposure of human and mouse islets to angiotensin II induces interleukin (IL)-1–dependent expression of IL-6 and MCP-1, enhances β-cell apoptosis, and impairs mitochondrial function and insulin secretion. In vivo, mice fed a high-fat diet and treated with angiotensin II and the vasodilator hydralazine to prevent hypertension showed defective glucose-stimulated insulin secretion and deteriorated glucose tolerance. Application of an anti–IL-1β antibody reduced the deleterious effects of angiotensin II on islet inflammation, restored insulin secretion, and improved glycemia. We conclude that angiotensin II leads to islet dysfunction via induction of inflammation and independent of vasoconstriction. Our findings reveal a novel role for the RAS and an additional rationale for the treatment of type 2 diabetic patients with an IL-1β antagonist.