Diacylglycerol accumulation and microvascular abnormalities induced by elevated glucose levels

B. A. Wolf, J. R. Williamson, R. A. Easom, K. Chang, W. R. Sherman, J. Turk

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The present experiments were undertaken to examine the hypothesis that glucose-induced increased de novo synthesis of 1,2-diacyl-sn-glycerol (which has been observed in a number of different tissues, including retinal capillary endothelial cells exposed to elevated glucose levels in vitro) and associated activation of protein kinase C may play a role in mediating glucose-induced vascular functional changes. We report here that twice daily instillation of 30 mM glucose over 10 d in a rat skin chamber granulation tissue model induces approximately a 2.7-fold increase in diacylglycerol (DAG) levels (versus tissues exposed to 5 mM glucose) in association with marked increases in vascular clearance of albumin and blood flow. The glucose-induced increase in DAG levels as well as the vascular functional changes are prevented by addition of 3 mM pyruvate. Pharmacological activation of protein kinase C with the phorbol ester TPA in the presence of 5 mM glucose increases microvascular albumin clearance and blood flow, and similar effects are observed with 1-monoolein (MOG), a pharmacological inhibitor of the catabolism of endogenous DAG. A pharmacological inhibitor of protein kinase C (staurosporine) greatly attenuates the rise in microvascular albumin clearance (but not the rise in blood flow) induced by glucose or by MOG. These findings are compatible with the hypothesis that elevated concentrations of glucose increase tissue DAG content via de novo synthesis, resulting in protein kinase C activation, and that these biochemical events are among the factors that generate the increased microvascular albumin clearance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-38
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Clinical Investigation
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1991


  • angiogenesis
  • diabetes
  • diacylglycerol
  • granulation tissue
  • protein kinase C

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