The Role of Inflammation in β-cell Dedifferentiation
Chronic inflammation impairs insulin secretion and sensitivity. β-cell dedifferentiation has recently been proposed as a mechanism underlying β-cell failure in T2D. Yet the effect of inflammation on β-cell identity in T2D has not been studied. Therefore, we investigated whether pro-inflammatory cytokines induce β-cell dedifferentiation and whether anti-inflammatory treatments improve insulin secretion via β-cell redifferentiation. We observed that IL-1β, IL-6 and TNFα promote β-cell dedifferentiation in cultured human and mouse islets, with IL-1β being the most potent one of them. In particular, β-cell identity maintaining transcription factor Foxo1 was downregulated upon IL-1β exposure. In vivo, anti-IL-1β, anti-TNFα or NF-kB inhibiting sodium salicylate treatment improved insulin secretion of isolated islets. However, only TNFα antagonism partially prevented the loss of β-cell identity gene expression. Finally, the combination of IL-1β and TNFα antagonism improved insulin secretion of ex vivo isolated islets in a synergistic manner. Thus, while inflammation triggered β-cell dedifferentiation and dysfunction in vitro, this mechanism seems to be only partly responsible for the observed in vivo improvements in insulin secretion.