Epidemiological studies suggest that moderate and prolonged consumption of coffee is associated with a reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes but the molecular mechanisms underlying this effect are not known. In this study, we report the effects of physiological concentrations of caffeic acid, easily achievable by normal dietary habits, in endothelial cells cultured in 25 mM of glucose (high glucose, HG). In HG, the presence of 10 nM caffeic acid was associated with a decrease of glucose uptake but not to changes of GLUT-1 membrane localization or mRNA levels. Moreover, caffeic acid countered HG-induced loss of barrier integrity, reducing actin rearrangement and FITC-dextran passage. The decreased flux of glucose associated to caffeic acid affected HG induced apoptosis by down-regulating the expression of initiator (caspase 8 and 9) and effector caspases (caspase 7 and 3) and by increasing the levels of phosphorylated Bcl-2. We also observed that caffeic acid in HG condition was associated to a reduction of p65 subunit nuclear levels with respect to HG alone. NF-κB activation has been shown to lead to apoptosis in HG treated cells and the analysis of the expression of a panel of about 90 genes related to NF-κB signaling pathway revealed that caffeic acid significantly influenced gene expression changes induced by HG. In conclusion, our results suggest that caffeic acid, decreasing the metabolic stress induced by HG, allows the activation of survival mechanisms mediated by a different modulation of NF-κB-related signaling pathways and to the activation of anti-apoptotic proteins.
Natarelli, L., Ranaldi, G., Leoni, G., Roselli, M., Guantario, B., Comitato, R., … Canali, R. (2015). Nanomolar caffeic acid decreases glucose uptake and the effects of high glucose in endothelial cells. PLoS ONE, 10(11). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0142421