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EASD: Higher Levels of IL-13 Could Improve Beta Cells Survival

IL-13, a cytokine produced by activated Th-2 lymphocytes, is involved in several stages of beta cell maturation and differentiation….

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In type 2 diabetic patients, IL-13 levels are lower than normal. Previous studies suggested that IL-13 could have a positive impact on liver and skeletal muscle; however, the impact of IL-13 on human and rodent β-cell function remains unknown.

Dr. Sabine Rutti from the University of Geneva, Switzerland and colleagues assessed the effect of IL-13 on β-cell function and survival. They maintained human and rat dispersed islet cells and sorted β-cells in culture for 48 hours in the presence of IL-13 (1-50ng/ml) alone or in combination with IL-1β (20ng/ml). Outcome measured included insulin secretion in response to glucose and rate of proliferation, cell death and protein expression/phosphorylation.

Results of the study indicated that IL-13 did not affect human or rat β-cell basal or glucose stimulated insulin secretions or rat β-cell proliferation. However, IL-13 (10ng/ml) reduced basal cell death in human as well as in rat β-cells (p<0.05), and protected sorted β-cells against IL-1β induced apoptosis (p<0.05). But, IL-13 did not protect β-cells from IL-1β impaired glucose stimulated insulin secretion.

Based on the results of this study, researchers believe that IL-13 could be useful for treatment of type 2 diabetes because it has the potential to improve β-cells survival and protect β-cells against IL-1β induced β-cell death. Also, these effects might be mediated through the IRS2/Akt signaling cascade.

Practice Pearls:

  • Data from this study suggested that IL-13 could improve β-cells survival and protect β-cells against IL-1β induced β-cell death.
  • IL-13 did not affect human or rat β-cell basal or glucose stimulated insulin secretions or rat β-cell proliferation.
  • These effects might be mediated through the IRS2/Akt signaling cascade.

Rutti S, Ruozi G, Braga L, et al. IL-13 improves beta cell survival and protects against IL-beta-induced beta cell death. EASD Virtual Meeting. Sep. 2014. Web. 22 Sep. 2014.