Uncoupling protein-2 attenuates palmitoleate protection against the cytotoxic production of mitochondrial reactive oxygen species in INS-1E insulinoma cells.
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High glucose and fatty acid levels impair pancreatic beta cell function. We have recently shown that palmitate-induced loss of INS-1E insulinoma cells is related to increased reactive oxygen species (ROS) production as both toxic effects are prevented by palmitoleate. Here we show that palmitate-induced ROS are mostly mitochondrial: oxidation of MitoSOX, a mitochondria-targeted superoxide probe, is increased by palmitate, whilst oxidation of the equivalent non-targeted probe is unaffected. Moreover, mitochondrial respiratory inhibition with antimycin A stimulates palmitate-induced MitoSOX oxidation. We also show that palmitate does not change the level of mitochondrial uncoupling protein-2 (UCP2) and that UCP2 knockdown does not affect palmitate-induced MitoSOX oxidation. Palmitoleate does not influence MitoSOX oxidation in INS-1E cells ±UCP2 and largely prevents the palmitate-induced effects. Importantly, UCP2 knockdown amplifies the preventive effect of palmitoleate on palmitate-induced ROS. Consistently, viability effects of palmitate and palmitoleate are similar between cells ±UCP2, but UCP2 knockdown significantly augments the palmitoleate protection against palmitate-induced cell loss at high glucose. We conclude that UCP2 neither mediates palmitate-induced mitochondrial ROS generation and the associated cell loss, nor protects against these deleterious effects. Instead, UCP2 dampens palmitoleate protection against palmitate toxicity.
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