Author(s): Bromati CR, LellisSantos C, Yamanaka TS, Nogueira TC, Leonelli M,
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Abstract Endocrine pancreas from pregnant rats undergoes several adaptations that comprise increase in β-cell number, mass and insulin secretion, and reduction of apoptosis. Lactogens are the main hormones that account for these changes. Maternal pancreas, however, returns to a nonpregnant state just after the delivery. The precise mechanism by which this reversal occurs is not settled but, in spite of high lactogen levels, a transient increase in apoptosis was already reported as early as the 3rd day of lactation (L3). Our results revealed that maternal islets displayed a transient increase in DNA fragmentation at L3, in parallel with decreased RAC-alpha serine/threonine-protein kinase (AKT) phosphorylation (pAKT), a known prosurvival kinase. Wortmannin completely abolished the prosurvival action of prolactin (PRL) in cultured islets. Decreased pAKT in L3-islets correlated with increased Tribble 3 (TRB3) expression, a pseudokinase inhibitor of AKT. PERK and eIF2α phosphorylation transiently increased in islets from rats at the first day after delivery, followed by an increase in immunoglobulin heavy chain-binding protein (BiP), activating transcription factor 4 (ATF4), and C/EBP homologous protein (CHOP) in islets from L3 rats. Chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) and Re-ChIP experiments further confirmed increased binding of the heterodimer ATF4/CHOP to the TRB3 promoter in L3 islets. Treatment with PBA, a chemical chaperone that inhibits UPR, restored pAKT levels and inhibited the increase in apoptosis found in L3. Moreover, PBA reduced CHOP and TRB3 levels in β-cell from L3 rats. Altogether, our study collects compelling evidence that UPR underlies the physiological and transient increase in β-cell apoptosis after delivery. The UPR is likely to counteract prosurvival actions of PRL by reducing pAKT through ATF4/CHOP-induced TRB3 expression.
This article was published in Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol
and referenced in Journal of Cancer Science & Therapy