Document Detail

Metabolic evolution suggests an explanation for the weakness of antioxidant defences in beta-cells.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  19396979     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
The lack of an effective antioxidant system in beta-cells, which renders them susceptible to oxidative stress, is to date without explanation. The particular weakness of beta-cells in females, in both humans and mice, is another unexplained observation. We hypothesise that reactive oxygen species (ROS) in beta-cells, by their negative effect on insulin synthesis/secretion, play a fitness-enhancing role for the whole organism. Under stress conditions, the release of stress hormones produces insulin resistance and, owing to ROS preventing beta-cells from secreting insulin at the level required to maintain homeostasis, diverts glucose to insulin-independent tissues such as the brain and the foetus. We suggest that pancreatic beta-cells lost part of their antioxidant defence in association with brain evolution, and lost even more in females when placental mammals evolved. The unusual antioxidant status of beta-cells may thus be explained as an instance of co-evolution of the brain, cortisol and corticosteroid receptors, and beta-cells in the endocrine pancreas.
Armin Rashidi; Thomas B L Kirkwood; Daryl P Shanley
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't; Review    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Mechanisms of ageing and development     Volume:  130     ISSN:  1872-6216     ISO Abbreviation:  Mech. Ageing Dev.     Publication Date:  2009 Apr 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2009-04-27     Completed Date:  2009-08-14     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0347227     Medline TA:  Mech Ageing Dev     Country:  Ireland    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  216-21     Citation Subset:  IM    
Centre for Integrated Systems Biology of Ageing and Nutrition, Institute for Ageing and Health, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK.
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MeSH Terms
Adaptation, Biological
Antioxidants / metabolism*
Insulin / biosynthesis,  secretion
Insulin-Secreting Cells / metabolism*,  secretion
Oxidative Stress
Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism
Grant Support
//Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
Reg. No./Substance:
0/Antioxidants; 0/Reactive Oxygen Species; 11061-68-0/Insulin

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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