Glucose induces and leptin decreases expression of uncoupling protein-2 mRNA in human islets

James E.P. Brown, Steven Thomas, Janet E. Digby, Simon J. Dunmore

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Elevated islet uncoupling protein-2 (UCP-2) impairs β-cell function and UCP-2 may be increased in clinical obesity and diabetes. We investigated the effects of glucose and leptin on UCP-2 expression in isolated human islets. Human islets were incubated for 24 h with glucose (5.5–22 mmol/l)±leptin (0–10 nmol/l). Some islet batches were incubated at high (22 mmol/l), and subsequently lower (5.5 mmol/l), glucose to assess reversibility of effects. Leptin effects on insulin release were also measured. Glucose dose-dependently increased UCP-2 expression in all islet batches, maximally by three-fold. This was not fully reversed by subsequently reduced glucose levels. Leptin decreased UCP-2 expression by up to 75%, and maximally inhibited insulin release by 47%, at 22 mmol/l glucose. This is the first report of UCP-2 expression in human islets and provides novel evidence of its role in the loss of β-cell function in diabetes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)189-192
Number of pages4
JournalFEBS Letters
Issue number2-3
Early online date25 Jan 2002
Publication statusPublished - 27 Feb 2002

Bibliographical note

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  • β-Cell
  • gene expression
  • glucose toxicity
  • type 2 diabetes


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