Sphingosine-1 Phosphate Lyase Regulates Sensitivity of Pancreatic Beta-Cells to Lipotoxicity.
Elevated levels of free fatty acids (FFAs) have been related to pancreatic beta-cell failure in type 2 diabetes (T2DM), though the underlying mechanisms are not yet fully understood. FFAs have been shown to dysregulate formation of bioactive sphingolipids, such as ceramides and sphingosine-1 phosphate (S1P) in beta-cells. The aim of this study was to analyze the role of sphingosine-1 phosphate lyase (SPL), a key enzyme of the sphingolipid pathway that catalyzes an irreversible degradation of S1P, in the sensitivity of beta-cells to lipotoxicity. To validate the role of SPL in lipotoxicity, we modulated SPL expression in rat INS1E cells and in human EndoC-βH1 beta-cells. SPL overexpression in INS1E cells (INS1E-SPL), which are characterized by a moderate basal expression level of SPL, resulted in an acceleration of palmitate-mediated cell viability loss, proliferation inhibition and induction of oxidative stress. SPL overexpression affected the mRNA expression of ER stress markers and mitochondrial chaperones. In contrast to control cells, in INS1E-SPL cells no protective effect of oleate was detected. Moreover, Plin2 expression and lipid droplet formation were strongly reduced in OA-treated INS1E-SPL cells. Silencing of SPL in human EndoC-βH1 beta-cells, which are characterized by a significantly higher SPL expression as compared to rodent beta-cells, resulted in prevention of FFA-mediated caspase-3/7 activation. Our findings indicate that an adequate control of S1P degradation by SPL might be crucially involved in the susceptibility of pancreatic beta-cells to lipotoxicity.