, Volume 52, Issue 4, pp 344-347

N-Monomethyl-arginine and nicotinamide prevent streptozotocin-induced double strand DNA break formation in pancreatic rat islets

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The impact of short term in vitro exposure to the diabetogenic drug streptozotocin on pancreatic islet glucose metabolism, insulin secretion, DNA fragmentation and cell viability, was studied. Streptozotocin impaired cell viability as well as insulin secretion and the oxidation of glucose. These effects were partially counteracted by inhibition of the inducible form of nitric oxide synthase with N-monomethyl-arginine and by scavenging oxygen free radicals with nicotinamide. Isolated islets underwent double strand DNA fragmentation after 24 h in culture. The degree of DNA breakdown was strongly enhanced by exposure of the islet DNA was obtained with N-monomethyl-arginine and nicotinamide. These data suggest that the generation of reactive oxygen and nitrogen species is involved in the deleterious action of streptozotocin on pancreatic islet tissue. A role for oxygen radicals generated during streptozotocin-induced islet cell damage as possible mediators of the expression of the inducible form of nitric oxide synthase and the scavenging action of nicotinamide on these radicals, is then proposed.