Metabolomics Study of the Effects of Inflammation, Hypoxia, and High Glucose on Isolated Human Pancreatic Islets

Marta Garcia-Contreras, Alejandro Tamayo-Garcia, Kirk L. Pappan, Gregory A. Michelotti, Cherie L. Stabler, Camillo Ricordi, Peter Buchwald

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


The transplantation of human pancreatic islets is a therapeutic possibility for a subset of type 1 diabetic patients who experience severe hypoglycemia. Pre- and post-transplantation loss in islet viability and function, however, is a major efficacy-limiting impediment. To investigate the effects of inflammation and hypoxia, the main obstacles hampering the survival and function of isolated, cultured, and transplanted islets, we conducted a comprehensive metabolomics evaluation of human islets in parallel with dynamic glucose-stimulated insulin release (GSIR) perifusion studies for functional evaluation. Metabolomics profiling of media and cell samples identified a total of 241 and 361 biochemicals, respectively. Metabolites that were altered in highly significant manner in both included, for example, kynurenine, kynurenate, citrulline, and mannitol/sorbitol under inflammation (all elevated) plus lactate (elevated) and N-formylmethionine (depressed) for hypoxia. Dynamic GSIR experiments, which capture both first- and second-phase insulin release, found severely depressed insulin-secretion under hypoxia, whereas elevated baseline and stimulated insulin-secretion was measured for islet exposed to the inflammatory cytokine cocktail (IL-1β, IFN-γ, and TNF-α). Because of the uniquely large changes observed in kynurenine and kynurenate, they might serve as potential biomarkers of islet inflammation, and indoleamine-2,3-dioxygenase on the corresponding pathway could be a worthwhile therapeutic target to dampen inflammatory effects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2294-2306
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Proteome Research
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2 2017


  • cytokines
  • human islets
  • hyperglycemia
  • hypoxia
  • insulin secretion
  • metabolomics
  • perifusion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Chemistry(all)


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