Indexed on: 15 Jan '14Published on: 15 Jan '14Published in: British Journal of Pharmacology
Nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (Nrf2) is considered to be a 'master regulator' of the antioxidant response as it regulates the expression of several genes including phase II metabolic and antioxidant enzymes and thus plays an important role in preventing oxidative stress-mediated disorders, including diabetes. In this study, for the first time, we investigated the protective properties of a naturally available antioxidant, pterostilbene (PTS), against pancreatic beta-cell apoptosis and the involvement of Nrf2 in its mechanism of action.Immunoblotting and quantitative reverse transcriptase (qRT)-PCR analysis were performed to identify PTS-mediated nuclear translocation of Nrf2 protein and the following activation of target gene expression, respectively, in INS-1E cells. In addition, an annexin-V binding assay was carried out to identify the apoptotic status of PTS-treated INS-1E cells, while confirming the anti-apoptotic potential of Nrf2 by qRT-PCR analysis of the expressions of both pro- and anti-apoptotic genes.PTS induced significant activation of Nrf2, in dose- and time-dependent manner, in streptozotocin-treated INS-1E rat pancreatic beta-cells. Furthermore, PTS increased the expression of target genes downstream of Nrf2, such as heme oxygenase 1 (HO1), superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT) and glutathione peroxidase (GPx), that confer cellular protection. PTS also up-regulated the expression of anti-apoptotic gene, Bcl-2, with a concomitant reduction in pro-apoptotic Bax and caspase-3 expression.Collectively, our findings indicate the therapeutic potential of Nrf2 activation by PTS as a promising approach to safeguard pancreatic beta-cells against oxidative damage in diabetes.