• Potential Mechanisms Underlying Hypoxia-Induced Diabetes in a Rodent Model: Implications for COVID-19

      Pae, Eung-Kwon; Harper, Ronald M (MDPI AG, 2021-12-14)
      Previous studies reported that repetitive hypoxia in rat pups reduces insulin secretion and elevates fasting blood glucose levels; these sequelae persisted for several months. This report describes how episodic hypoxic events elevate a chloride ion exporter, K+-Cl- cotransporter-2 (KCC2), in the plasma membrane of insulin-secreting pancreatic β-cells. We assume that acute diabetic symptoms observed in rat pups with periodic oxygen desaturation could result from a lack of blood insulin levels due to disturbed β-cell function. This acute hypo-insulinemia may result from a disruption in chloride balance in β-cells arising from an imbalanced KCC2-NKCC1 (chloride exporter-importer) density as a consequence of periodic oxygen desaturation. Mechanistically, we postulate that a reduced insulin secretion due to the KCC2-NKCC1 imbalance subsequent to acute oxygen desaturation could result in hyperglycemia in rat pups, paralleling symptoms shown in patients with COVID-19 who experienced acute respiratory distress.