Dual elimination of the glucagon and GLP-1 receptors in mice reveals plasticity in the incretin axis

Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology, Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute, Mt. Sinai Hospital, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
The Journal of clinical investigation (Impact Factor: 13.22). 05/2011; 121(5):1917-29. DOI: 10.1172/JCI43615
Source: PubMed


Disordered glucagon secretion contributes to the symptoms of diabetes, and reduced glucagon action is known to improve glucose homeostasis. In mice, genetic deletion of the glucagon receptor (Gcgr) results in increased levels of the insulinotropic hormone glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1), which may contribute to the alterations in glucose homeostasis observed in Gcgr-/- mice. Here, we assessed the contribution of GLP-1 receptor (GLP-1R) signaling to the phenotype of Gcgr-/- mice by generating Gcgr-/-Glp1r-/- mice. Although insulin sensitivity was similar in all genotypes, fasting glucose was increased in Gcgr-/-Glp1r-/- mice. Elimination of the Glp1r normalized gastric emptying and impaired intraperitoneal glucose tolerance in Gcgr-/- mice. Unexpectedly, deletion of Glp1r in Gcgr-/- mice did not alter the improved oral glucose tolerance and increased insulin secretion characteristic of that genotype. Although Gcgr-/-Glp1r-/- islets exhibited increased sensitivity to the incretin glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP), mice lacking both Glp1r and the GIP receptor (Gipr) maintained preservation of the enteroinsular axis following reduction of Gcgr signaling. Moreover, Gcgr-/-Glp1r-/- islets expressed increased levels of the cholecystokinin A receptor (Cckar) and G protein-coupled receptor 119 (Gpr119) mRNA transcripts, and Gcgr-/-Glp1r-/- mice exhibited increased sensitivity to exogenous CCK and the GPR119 agonist AR231453. Our data reveal extensive functional plasticity in the enteroinsular axis via induction of compensatory mechanisms that control nutrient-dependent regulation of insulin secretion.

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    • "AR231453, an orally active agonist at GPR119 receptors potentiates glucose-induced insulin secretion from mouse islets, and this stimulatory effect is lost following GPR119 deletion (Chu et al., 2007). GPR119 is up-regulated in islets from mice with global deletion of glucagon receptors and GLP-1 receptors, and these mice show increased sensitivity to AR231453 (Ali et al., 2011), suggesting that β-cells can compensate for disruption in signalling through the glucagon and GLP-1 insulinotropic receptors by increasing the expression of GPR119, another receptor coupled to Gs-induced cAMP elevation. There is no information on whether GPR119 regulates glucagon or somatostatin secretion. "
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    ABSTRACT: G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs) regulate hormone secretion from islets of Langerhans, and recently developed therapies for type-2 diabetes target islet GLP-1 receptors. However, the total number of GPCRs expressed by human islets, as well as their function and interactions with drugs, is poorly understood. In this review we have constructed an atlas of all GPCRs expressed by human islets: the 'islet GPCRome'. We have used this atlas to describe how islet GPCRs interact with their endogenous ligands, regulate islet hormone secretion, and interact with drugs known to target GPCRs, with a focus on drug/receptor interactions that may affect insulin secretion. The islet GPCRome consists of 293 GPCRs, a majority of which have unknown effects on insulin, glucagon and somatostatin secretion. The islet GPCRs are activated by 271 different endogenous ligands, at least 131 of which are present in islet cells. A large signalling redundancy was also found, with 119 ligands activating more than one islet receptor. Islet GPCRs are also the targets of a large number of clinically used drugs, and based on their coupling characteristics and effects on receptor signalling we identified 107 drugs predicted to stimulate and 184 drugs predicted to inhibit insulin secretion. The islet GPCRome highlights knowledge gaps in the current understanding of islet GPCR function, and identifies GPCR/ligand/drug interactions that might affect insulin secretion, which are important for understanding the metabolic side effects of drugs. This approach may aid in the design of new safer therapeutic agents with fewer detrimental effects on islet hormone secretion.
    Pharmacology [?] Therapeutics 05/2013; 139(3). DOI:10.1016/j.pharmthera.2013.05.004 · 9.72 Impact Factor
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    • "Nevertheless, the Gcggfp/gfp mice develop hyperplasia of GFP-positive α-like cells and this result indicates that neither lower blood glucose levels nor elevated GLP-1 levels are prerequisite for the hyperplasia [3], [4]. This conclusion is in agreement with a recent report on glucagon receptor/GLP-1 receptor double knockout mice, which are normoglycemic and develop α-cells hyperplasia [19]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Defects in glucagon action can cause hyperplasia of islet α-cells, however, the underlying mechanisms remain largely to be elucidated. Mice homozygous for a glucagon-GFP knock-in allele (Gcg(gfp/gfp) ) completely lack proglucagon-derived peptides and exhibit hyperplasia of GFP-positive α-like cells. Expression of the transcription factor, aristaless-related homeobox (ARX), is also increased in the Gcg(gfp/gfp) pancreas. Here, we sought to elucidate the role of ARX in the hyperplasia of α-like cells through analyses of two Arx mutant alleles (Arx(P355L/Y) and Arx ([330insGCG]7/Y) ) that have different levels of impairment of their function. Expression of Gfp and Arx genes was higher and the size and number of islets increased in the Gcg(gfp/gfp) pancreas compared to and Gcg(gfp/+) pancreas at 2 weeks of age. In male Gcg(gfp/gfp) mice that are hemizygous for the Arx(P355L/Y) mutation that results in a protein with a P355L amino acid substitution, expression of Gfp mRNA in the pancreas was comparable to that in control Gcg(gfp/+)Arx(+/Y) mice. The increases in islet size and number were also reduced in these mice. Immunohistochemical analysis showed that the number of GFP-positive cells was comparable in Gcg(gfp/gfp) Arx(P355L/Y) and Gcg(gfp/+)Arx(+/Y) mice. These results indicate that the hyperplasia is reduced by introduction of an Arx mutation. Arx(P355L/Y) mice appeared to be phenotypically normal; however, Arx ([330insGCG]7/Y) mice that have a mutant ARX protein with expansion of the polyalanine tract had a reduced body size and shortened life span. The number of GFP positive cells was further reduced in the Gcg(gfp/gfp) Arx ([330insGCG]7/Y) mice. Taken together, our findings show that the function of ARX is one of the key modifiers for hyperplasia of islet α-like cells in the absence of proglucagon-derived peptides.
    PLoS ONE 05/2013; 8(5):e64415. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0064415 · 3.23 Impact Factor
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    • "Despite evidence linking reduction in GCGR signaling to α-cell hyperplasia, the precise tissues and signals important for stimulation of α-cell proliferation remain unknown. Because levels of GLP-1, a potent stimulator of islet cell proliferation, are extremely high in mice with partial or complete attenuation of Gcgr signaling (10,14), we analyzed α-cell mass in Gcgr−/−:Glp1r−/− mice (15). Although elimination of the Glp1r in Gcgr−/− mice reversed improvements in β-cell function, fasting glycemia, and inhibition of gastric emptying, Gcgr−/−:Glp1r−/− mice continued to exhibit marked islet and α-cell hyperplasia. "
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    ABSTRACT: Glucagon is a critical regulator of glucose homeostasis; however, mechanisms regulating glucagon action and α-cell function and number are incompletely understood. To elucidate the role of the hepatic glucagon receptor (Gcgr) in glucagon action, we generated mice with hepatocyte-specific deletion of the glucagon receptor. Gcgr(Hep)(-/-) mice exhibited reductions in fasting blood glucose and improvements in insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance compared with wild-type controls, similar in magnitude to changes observed in Gcgr(-/-) mice. Despite preservation of islet Gcgr signaling, Gcgr(Hep)(-/-) mice developed hyperglucagonemia and α-cell hyperplasia. To investigate mechanisms by which signaling through the Gcgr regulates α-cell mass, wild-type islets were transplanted into Gcgr(-/-) or Gcgr(Hep)(-/-) mice. Wild-type islets beneath the renal capsule of Gcgr(-/-) or Gcgr(Hep)(-/-) mice exhibited an increased rate of α-cell proliferation and expansion of α-cell area, consistent with changes exhibited by endogenous α-cells in Gcgr(-/-) and Gcgr(Hep)(-/-) pancreata. These results suggest that a circulating factor generated after disruption of hepatic Gcgr signaling can increase α-cell proliferation independent of direct pancreatic input. Identification of novel factors regulating α-cell proliferation and mass may facilitate the generation and expansion of α-cells for transdifferentiation into β-cells and the treatment of diabetes.
    Diabetes 11/2012; 62(4). DOI:10.2337/db11-1605 · 8.10 Impact Factor
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