Author(s): Wahren J, Jrnvall H
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Abstract Proinsulin C-peptide was for long considered to be without biological activity of its own. New findings demonstrate, however, that it is capable of eliciting both molecular and physiological effects, suggesting that C-peptide is in fact a bioactive peptide. When administered in replacement doses to animal models or to patients with type 1 diabetes, C-peptide ameliorates diabetes-induced functional and structural changes in both the kidneys and the peripheral nerves. It augments blood flow in a number of tissues, notably skeletal muscle, myocardium, skin and nerve. These effects are thought to be mediated via a stimulatory influence on Na+,K(+)-ATPase and on endothelial nitric oxide synthase. Specific binding of C-peptide to cell membranes of intact cells and to detergent-solubilized cellular components has been demonstrated, indicating the existence of cell-surface binding sites for C-peptide. A number of intracellular responses are elicited by C-peptide, including a rise in Ca2+ concentration and activation of MAP-kinase signaling pathways. Many but not all of C-peptide's intracellular effects can be inhibited by pertussis toxin, supporting the notion that C-peptide may interact via a G-protein-coupled receptor. Additional data suggest that C-peptide may interact synergistically also in the insulin signaling pathway. Combined, the available observations show conclusively that C-peptide is biologically active, even though its molecular mechanism of action is not as yet fully understood. The possibility that replacement of C-peptide in patients with type 1 diabetes may serve to retard or prevent the development of long-term complications should be evaluated. Copyright 2003 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
This article was published in Diabetes Metab Res Rev
and referenced in Journal of Diabetes & Metabolism