Mutant Huntingtin Impairs Pancreatic β-cells by Recruiting IRS-2 and Disturbing the PI3K/AKT/FoxO1 Signaling Pathway in Huntington's Disease.

Publication date: Jul 31, 2021

Patients with Huntington’s disease (HD) have an increased incidence of diabetes. However, the molecular mechanisms of pancreatic β-cell dysfunction have not been entirely clarified. Revealing the pathogenesis of diabetes can provide a novel understanding of the onset and progression of HD, as well as potential clues for the development of new therapeutics. Here, we demonstrated that the mouse pancreatic insulinoma cell line NIT-1 expressing N-terminal mutant huntingtin (mHTT) containing 160 polyglutamine (160Q cells) displayed lower cell proliferative ability than the cells expressing N-terminal wild-type HTT containing 20 polyglutamine (20Q cells). In addition, 160Q cells were more prone to apoptosis and exhibited deficient glucose-stimulated insulin expression and secretion. Furthermore, insulin signaling molecule insulin receptor substrate 2 (IRS-2) expression decreased and was recruited into mHTT aggregates. Consequently, glucose stimulation failed to activate the downstream molecule phosphatidylinositol-3 kinase (PI3K) in 160Q cells, leading to reduced phosphorylation levels of serine-threonine protein kinase AKT and forkhead box protein O1 (FoxO1). These data indicate that activation of the glucose-stimulated PI3K/AKT/FoxO1 signaling pathway is significantly blocked in pancreatic β-cells in HD. Importantly, insulin treatment inhibited the aggregation of mHTT and significantly improved the activation of PI3K/AKT/FoxO1 signaling in 160Q cells. These results suggest that the inhibition of the PI3K/AKT/FoxO1 pathway might be due to the recruitment of IRS-2 into mHTT aggregates in HD β-cells, ultimately contributing to the impairment of pancreatic β-cells. In conclusion, our work provides new insight into the underlying mechanisms of the high incidence of diabetes and abnormal glucose homeostasis in HD.

Concepts Keywords
Homeostasis Branches of biology
Insulinoma Enzymes
Irs Forkhead transcription factors
Mutant Signal transduction
Pathogenesis Molecular biology
Protein kinase B
Phosphoinositide 3-kinase


Type Source Name
disease MESH development
disease MESH insulinoma
pathway KEGG Apoptosis
drug DRUGBANK Dextrose unspecified form
drug DRUGBANK Serine
drug DRUGBANK L-Threonine

Original Article

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