Cell-to-cell diffusion of glucose in the mammalian heart is disrupted by high glucose. Implications for the diabetic heart

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The cell-to-cell diffusion of glucose in heart cell pairs isolated from the left ventricle of adult Wistar Kyoto rats was investigated. For this, fluorescent glucose was dialyzed into one cell of the pair using the whole cell clamp technique, and its diffusion from cell-to-cell was investigated by measuring the fluorescence in the dialyzed as well as in non-dialyzed cell as a function of time. The results indicated that: 1) glucose flows easily from cell-to-cell through gap junctions; 2) high glucose solution (25 mM) disrupted chemical communication between cardiac cells and abolished the intercellular diffusion of glucose; 3) the effect of high glucose solution on the cell-to-cell diffusion of glucose was drastically reduced by Bis-1 (10−9 M) which is a PKC inhibitor; 4) intracellular dialysis of Ang II (100 nM) or increment of intracellular calcium concentration (10−8 M) also inhibited the intercellular diffusion of glucose; 5) high glucose enhances oxidative stress in heart cells; 6) calculation of gap junction permeability (Pj) (cm/s) indicated a value of 0.74±0.08×10−4 cm/s (5 animals) for the controls and 0.4±0.001×10−5 cm/s; n=35 (5 animals) (P<0.05) for cells incubated with high glucose solution for 24 h; 7) measurements of Pj for cell pairs treated with high glucose plus Bis-1 (10−9 M) revealed no significant change of Pj (P>0.05); 8) increase of intracellular Ca2+ concentration (10−8 M) drastically decreased Pj (Pj=0.3±0.003×10−5 cm/s). Conclusions indicate that: 1) glucose flows from cell-to-cell in the heart through gap junctions; 2) high glucose (25 mM) inhibited the intercellular diffusion of glucose—an effect significantly reduced by PKC inhibition; 3) high intracellular Ca2+ concentration abolished the cell-to-cell diffusion of glucose; 4) intracellular Ang II (100 nM) inhibited the intercellular diffusion of glucose indicating that intracrine Ang II, in part activated by high glucose, severely impairs the exchange of glucose between cardiac myocytes. These observations support the view that the intracrine renin angiotensin system is a modulator of chemical communication in the heart. The implications of these findings for the diabetic heart were discussed.

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