April 2014
Volume 55, Issue 13
ARVO Annual Meeting Abstract  |   April 2014
Impaired Akt phosphorylation in response to high insulin in human RPE cells
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Khasim Syed
    Osteopathic Medicine, Nova Southeastern University, Davie, FL
    Ophthalmology, Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, Miami, FL
  • Pablo J Marin
    Polytechnic University of Valencia, Valencia, Spain
  • Maria E Marin Castano
    Ophthalmology, Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, Miami, FL
  • Footnotes
    Commercial Relationships Khasim Syed, None; Pablo Marin, None; Maria Marin Castano, None
  • Footnotes
    Support None
Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science April 2014, Vol.55, 1043. doi:
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      Khasim Syed, Pablo J Marin, Maria E Marin Castano, Retina; Impaired Akt phosphorylation in response to high insulin in human RPE cells. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2014;55(13):1043.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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Purpose: Chronic hyperinsulinemia is both a marker and a cause for insulin resistance. Insulin, a growth factor essential for retinal cell survival and homeostasis, may play a role in the development of ocular diabetic complications. The effect of a high dose of insulin on the retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cell, a non-insulin-dependent tissue with an essential role in retinal homeostasis, has received no attention. We will investigate insulin signaling in human RPE cells exposed to hyperinsulinemic environment.

Methods: ARPE-19 cells were grown to confluence in modified growth medium, plated at sub-confluent density, and grown to confluence. At the time of confluence, the medium was replaced for 24 hours with phenol red-free medium supplemented with 10% FBS. Cells were then treated in phenol red-free 1% FBS medium with either 500pM or 100nM insulin for different periods of time. Cells were pretreated for 1 hour with 10microM of PI3K inhibitor LY294002 or the proteasome inhibitor MG-132 before they were exposed to high insulin 100nM for 2h. After treatment, cells were harvested for protein extraction or RNA. Expression of insulin receptor, insulin receptor substrate 1 (IRS1), insulin-like growth factor receptors, and Akt were demonstrated by real-time PCR and Western Blot.

Results: We found a robust phosphorylation of Akt at Serine 473 in response to low insulin 500pM, reaching a maximum at 30 minutes before gradually decreasing. These effects are mediated through insulin receptors and not insulin-like growth factor receptors. High insulin 100nM also induced a strong increase in Akt phosphorylation with a peak at 30 minutes followed by a decline. Also, ARPE-19 cells exposed to high insulin 100nM had increased IRS-1 Ser-639 phosphorylation compared to low insulin 500pM. High insulin-induced IRS-1 Ser-639 phosphorylation was blocked by PI3K (LY294002). Exposure to high insulin 100nM for 5 days induced a decline in IRS-1 protein levels with no concomitant change in IRS-1mRNA content. Proteasome-mediated degradation of IRS-1 was involved in this effect because MG-132 abolished high insulin-induced decline in IRS-1 protein expression.

Conclusions: These results suggest that RPE cells sensitivity to insulin may be impaired in hyperinsulemic enivornment through an IRS-1 Ser-639 phosphorylation-dependent mechanism which may promote retinal damage in individuals with persistent high insulin levels.

Keywords: 499 diabetic retinopathy • 701 retinal pigment epithelium • 714 signal transduction  

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