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OBJECTIVE: Insufficient insulin secretion is a hallmark of type 2 diabetes, and exposure of beta-cells to elevated lipid levels (lipotoxicity) contributes to secretory dysfunction. Functional ablation of protein kinase C epsilon (PKCepsilon) has been shown to improve glucose homeostasis in models of type 2 diabetes and, in particular, to enhance glucose-stimulated insulin secretion (GSIS) after lipid exposure. Therefore, we investigated the lipid-dependent mechanisms responsible for the enhanced GSIS after inactivation of PKCepsilon. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS: We cultured islets isolated from PKCepsilon knockout (PKCepsilonKO) mice in palmitate prior to measuring GSIS, Ca(2+) responses, palmitate esterification products, lipolysis, lipase activity, and gene expression. RESULTS: The enhanced GSIS could not be explained by increased expression of another PKC isoform or by alterations in glucose-stimulated Ca(2+) influx. Instead, an upregulation of the amplifying pathways of GSIS in lipid-cultured PKCepsilonKO beta-cells was revealed under conditions in which functional ATP-sensitive K(+) channels were bypassed. Furthermore, we showed increased esterification of palmitate into triglyceride pools and an enhanced rate of lipolysis and triglyceride lipase activity in PKCepsilonKO islets. Acute treatment with the lipase inhibitor orlistat blocked the enhancement of GSIS in lipid-cultured PKCepsilonKO islets, suggesting that a lipolytic product mediates the enhancement of glucose-amplified insulin secretion after PKCepsilon deletion. CONCLUSIONS: Our findings demonstrate a mechanistic link between lipolysis and the amplifying pathways of GSIS in murine beta-cells, and they suggest an interaction between PKCepsilon and lipolysis. These results further highlight the therapeutic potential of PKCepsilon inhibition to enhance GSIS from the beta-cell under conditions of lipid excess.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





1826 - 1834


Animals Crosses, Genetic Female Gene Deletion Glucose/*pharmacology Insulin/*secretion Insulin-Secreting Cells/drug effects/*physiology/secretion Lipolysis/genetics/*physiology Male Mice Mice, Knockout Protein Kinase C-epsilon/*deficiency/genetics