Chronic hyperglycemia has been associated with an increased prevalence of pathological conditions including cardiovascular disease, cancer, or various disorders of the immune system. In some cases, these associations may be traced back to a common underlying cause, but more often, hyperglycemia and the disturbance in metabolic balance directly facilitate pathological changes in the regular cellular functions. One such cellular function crucial for every living organism is cell cycle regulation/mitotic activity. Although metabolic challenges have long been recognized to influence cell proliferation, the direct impact of diabetes on cell cycle regulatory elements is a relatively uncharted territory. Among other "nutrient sensing" mechanisms, protein O-linked β-N-acetylglucosamine (O-GlcNAc) modification emerged in recent years as a major contributor to the deleterious effects of hyperglycemia. An increasing amount of evidence suggest that O-GlcNAc may significantly influence the cell cycle and cellular proliferation. In our present review, we summarize the current data available on the direct impact of metabolic changes caused by hyperglycemia in pathological conditions associated with cell cycle disorders. We also review published experimental evidence supporting the hypothesis that O-GlcNAc modification may be one of the missing links between metabolic regulation and cellular proliferation.
- cell cycle