Cathepsin c regulates cytokine-induced apoptosis in β-cell model systems

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Emerging evidence suggests that several of the lysosomal cathepsin proteases are genetically associated with type 1 diabetes (T1D) and participate in immune-mediated destruction of the pancreatic β cells. We previously reported that the T1D candidate gene cathepsin H is downregulated by pro-inflammatory cytokines in human pancreatic islets and regulates β-cell function, apoptosis, and disease progression in children with new-onset T1D. In the present study, the objective was to investigate the expression patterns of all 15 known cathepsins in β-cell model systems and examine their role in the regulation of cytokine-induced apoptosis. Real-time qPCR screening of the cathepsins in human islets, 1.1B4 and INS-1E β-cell models identified several cathepsins that were expressed and regulated by pro-inflammatory cytokines. Using small interfering RNAs to knock down (KD) the cytokine-regulated cathepsins, we identified an anti-apoptotic function of cathepsin C as KD increased cytokine-induced apoptosis. KD of cathepsin C correlated with increased phosphorylation of JNK and p38 mitogen-activated protein kinases, and elevated chemokine CXCL10/IP-10 expression. This study suggests that cathepsin C is a modulator of β-cell survival, and that immune modulation of cathepsin expression in islets may contribute to immune-mediated β-cell destruction in T1D.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1694
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

    Research areas

  • CTSC, CXCL10, Human pancreatic islets, Inflammation, Lysosomal proteases, MAPK, Pro-inflammatory cytokines, Type 1 diabetes, β-cell death

ID: 284639178