Endothelial dysfunction is thought to be a major cause of vascular complications in diabetes. Our research shows that ghrelin attenuates high glucose-induced apoptosis in cultured human umbilical vein endothelial cells (ECV-304). Exposure to glucose (33.3mM) for 72 h caused a significant increase in apoptosis, as evaluated by TUNEL and flow cytometry, but pretreatment of ghrelin (10(-7)M) eliminated high glucose-induced apoptosis in ECV-304. Ghrelin also prevented the induction of caspase-3 activation, in cells incubated with glucose (33.3 mM). Exposure of cells to ghrelin (10(-7)M) caused rapid activation of Akt. PI3K inhibitor, LY294002 attenuated ghrelin's inhibitory effect on caspase-3 activity. Ghrelin protected endothelial cells from high glucose by inhibiting reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation. Results of our study indicate that ghrelin inhibits both high glucose-induced apoptosis via PI3K/Akt pathway and ROS production in ECV-304. This peptide may have potential in preventing diabetic complications, especially in obese patients.
Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications 11/2007; 362(3):677-81. DOI:10.1016/j.bbrc.2007.08.021 · 2.28 Impact Factor