PKA regulates HMGB1 through activation of IGFBP-3 and SIRT1 in human retinal endothelial cells cultured in high glucose


Objective and Design

Inflammation is a key component of a number of diseases, including diabetic retinopathy. We investigated the cellular pathway by which protein kinase A (PKA) inhibited high mobility group box 1 (HMGB1).


Primary human retinal endothelial cells (REC) were grown in normal glucose (5 mM) or high glucose (25 mM). Cells in high glucose were treated with exchange protein for cAMP 1 (Epac1) and IGFBP-3 siRNA. Additional cells in high glucose were treated with forskolin, a PKA agonist, and Epac1 siRNA. Some cells were treated with a plasmid for insulin-like growth factor binding protein 3 (IGFBP-3) that does not bind IGF-1. Finally, some REC received Ex527, a sirtuin 1 (SIRT1) antagonist, prior to forskolin treatment. Protein analyses were done for HMGB1, Epac1, IGFBP-3, SIRT1, and PKA.


PKA inhibited cytoplasmic HMGB1, independent of Epac1 actions. PKA activated IGFBP-3 and SIRT1 to inhibit cytoplasmic HMGB1. High glucose inhibited SIRT1 levels and increased cytoplasmic HMGB1 in REC.


PKA requires active IGFBP-3 and SIRT1 to inhibit HMGB1 inflammatory actions in the retina vasculature. Activation of these pathways may offer new targets for therapy development.

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R01EY028442 (JJS), P30EY04068 (Hazlett), and an Unrestricted Grant to the Department of Ophthalmology from Research to Prevent Blindness (Kresge Eye Institute). The funders did not influence these design or execution of these studies.

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Correspondence to Jena J. Steinle.

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Responsible Editor: John Di Battista.

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Liu, L., Patel, P. & Steinle, J.J. PKA regulates HMGB1 through activation of IGFBP-3 and SIRT1 in human retinal endothelial cells cultured in high glucose. Inflamm. Res. 67, 1013–1019 (2018).

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  • PKA
  • HMGB1
  • SIRT1
  • Inflammation
  • Retinal endothelial cells