The objective was to clarify whether dietary palmitic acid supplementation affects glucose-stimulated insulin secretion (GSIS) and the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress pathway in pancreatic islets in mice. Eight-week-old male C57BL/6J mice were randomly divided into three treatment diet groups: control diet, palmitic acid-supplemented diet (PAL) and oleic acid-supplemented diet (OLE). After 2 weeks of treatment, intraperitoneal glucose tolerance test and intraperitoneal insulin tolerance test were performed. GSIS was assessed by pancreatic perfusion in situ with basal (100 mg/dL) glucose followed by a high (300 mg/dL) glucose concentration. We measured mRNA levels of ER stress markers such as C/EBP homologous protein (CHOP), immunoglobulin heavy-chain binding protein (BIP) and X-box binding protein (XBP)-1 using real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) analyses in isolated islets. Immunohistochemical staining was also performed. Mice fed PAL showed significantly decreased glucose tolerance (p < 0.05). In the perfusion study, GSIS was significantly suppressed in the PAL group (p < 0.05). Semi-quantitative RT-PCR revealed that islet CHOP, BIP, and XBP-1 mRNA expression were significantly increased in the PAL group (p < 0.05). TUNEL-positive β-cells were not detected in all groups. Dietary palmitic acid-supplementation for 2 weeks might suppress GSIS and induce ER stress in pancreatic islets in mice, in the early stage of lipotoxicity.
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