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BD Green, MH Mooney, VA Gault, N Irwin, CJ Bailey, P Harriott, B Greer, FP O'Harte, and PR Flatt

Glucagon-like peptide-1(7-36)amide (GLP-1) possesses several unique and beneficial effects for the potential treatment of type 2 diabetes. However, the rapid inactivation of GLP-1 by dipeptidyl peptidase IV (DPP IV) results in a short half-life in vivo (less than 2 min) hindering therapeutic development. In the present study, a novel His(7)-modified analogue of GLP-1, N-pyroglutamyl-GLP-1, as well as N-acetyl-GLP-1 were synthesised and tested for DPP IV stability and biological activity. Incubation of GLP-1 with either DPP IV or human plasma resulted in rapid degradation of native GLP-1 to GLP-1(9-36)amide, while N-acetyl-GLP-1 and N-pyroglutamyl-GLP-1 were completely resistant to degradation. N-acetyl-GLP-1 and N-pyroglutamyl-GLP-1 bound to the GLP-1 receptor but had reduced affinities (IC(50) values 32.9 and 6.7 nM, respectively) compared with native GLP-1 (IC(50) 0.37 nM). Similarly, both analogues stimulated cAMP production with EC(50) values of 16.3 and 27 nM respectively compared with GLP-1 (EC(50) 4.7 nM). However, N-acetyl-GLP-1 and N-pyroglutamyl-GLP-1 exhibited potent insulinotropic activity in vitro at 5.6 mM glucose (P<0.05 to P<0.001) similar to native GLP-1. Both analogues (25 nM/kg body weight) lowered plasma glucose and increased plasma insulin levels when administered in conjunction with glucose (18 nM/kg body weight) to adult obese diabetic (ob/ob) mice. N-pyroglutamyl-GLP-1 was substantially better at lowering plasma glucose compared with the native peptide, while N-acetyl-GLP-1 was significantly more potent at stimulating insulin secretion. These studies indicate that N-terminal modification of GLP-1 results in DPP IV-resistant and biologically potent forms of GLP-1. The particularly powerful antihyperglycaemic action of N-pyroglutamyl-GLP-1 shows potential for the treatment of type 2 diabetes.

Free access

Tianru Jin

The proglucagon gene (gcg) encodes a number of peptide hormones that are of cell-type specifically expressed in the pancreatic islets, the distal ileum and the large intestine, as well as certain brain neuronal cells. These hormones are important in controlling blood glucose homeostasis, intestinal cell proliferation, and satiety. More importantly, the major hormone generated in the pancreas (i.e. glucagon) exerts opposite effects to the ones that are produced in the intestines (i.e. glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) and GLP-2). To understand the mechanisms underlying cell-type-specific gcg expression may lead to the identification of novel drug targets to control endogenous hormone production for therapeutic purposes. Extensive in vitro examinations have shown that more than a half dozen of homeodomain (HD) proteins are able to interact with the gcg gene promoter and activate its expression. In vivo ‘knock-out’ mouse studies, however, cannot demonstrate the role of some of them (i.e. Cdx-2, Brn-4, and Nkx6.2) in the development of pancreatic islet α-cells, suggesting that these HD proteins may exert some redundant functions in the genesis of gcg-producing cells. Investigations have also revealed that gcg expression is controlled by both protein kinase A and Epac signaling pathways in response to cAMP elevation, and cell-type specifically controlled by insulin and the effectors of the Wnt signaling pathway. This review summarizes our current understanding on the mechanisms underlying gcg transcription and presented my interpretations on how the interactions between different signaling networks regulate gcg expression.

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Helena A Walz, Linda Härndahl, Nils Wierup, Emilia Zmuda-Trzebiatowska, Fredrik Svennelid, Vincent C Manganiello, Thorkil Ploug, Frank Sundler, Eva Degerman, Bo Ahrén, and Lena Stenson Holst

Inadequate islet adaptation to insulin resistance leads to glucose intolerance and type 2 diabetes. Here we investigate whether β-cell cAMP is crucial for islet adaptation and prevention of glucose intolerance in mice. Mice with a β-cell-specific, 2-fold overexpression of the cAMP-degrading enzyme phosphodiesterase 3B (RIP-PDE3B/2 mice) were metabolically challenged with a high-fat diet. We found that RIP-PDE3B/2 mice early and rapidly develop glucose intolerance and insulin resistance, as compared with wild-type littermates, after 2 months of high-fat feeding. This was evident from advanced fasting hyperinsulinemia and early development of hyper-glycemia, in spite of hyperinsulinemia, as well as impaired capacity of insulin to suppress plasma glucose in an insulin tolerance test. In vitro analyses of insulin-stimulated lipogenesis in adipocytes and glucose uptake in skeletal muscle did not reveal reduced insulin sensitivity in these tissues. Significant steatosis was noted in livers from high-fat-fed wild-type and RIP-PDE3B/2 mice and liver triacyl-glycerol content was 3-fold higher than in wild-type mice fed a control diet. Histochemical analysis revealed severe islet perturbations, such as centrally located α-cells and reduced immunostaining for insulin and GLUT2 in islets from RIP-PDE3B/2 mice. Additionally, in vitro experiments revealed that the insulin secretory response to glucagon-like peptide-1 stimulation was markedly reduced in islets from high-fat-fed RIP-PDE3B/2 mice. We conclude that accurate regulation of β-cell cAMP is necessary for adequate islet adaptation to a perturbed metabolic environment and protective for the development of glucose intolerance and insulin resistance.

Free access

L M McShane, N Irwin, D O’Flynn, Z J Franklin, C M Hewage, and F P M O’Harte

Ablation of glucagon receptor signaling represents a potential treatment option for type 2 diabetes (T2DM). Additionally, activation of glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP) receptor signaling also holds therapeutic promise for T2DM. Therefore, this study examined both independent and combined metabolic actions of desHis1Pro4Glu9(Lys12PAL)-glucagon (glucagon receptor antagonist) and d-Ala2GIP (GIP receptor agonist) in diet-induced obese mice. Glucagon receptor binding has been linked to alpha-helical structure and desHis1Pro4Glu9(Lys12PAL)-glucagon displayed enhanced alpha-helical content compared with native glucagon. In clonal pancreatic BRIN-BD11 beta-cells, desHis1Pro4Glu9(Lys12PAL)-glucagon was devoid of any insulinotropic or cAMP-generating actions, and did not impede d-Ala2GIP-mediated (P<0.01 to P<0.001) effects on insulin and cAMP production. Twice-daily injection of desHis1Pro4Glu9(Lys12PAL)-glucagon or d-Ala2GIP alone, and in combination, in high-fat-fed mice failed to affect body weight or energy intake. Circulating blood glucose levels were significantly (P<0.05 to P<0.01) decreased by all treatments regimens, with plasma and pancreatic insulin elevated (P<0.05 to P<0.001) in all mice receiving d-Ala2GIP. Interestingly, plasma glucagon concentrations were decreased (P<0.05) by sustained glucagon inhibition (day 28), but increased (P<0.05) by d-Ala2GIP therapy, with a combined treatment resulting in glucagon concentration similar to saline controls. All treatments improved (P<0.01) intraperitoneal and oral glucose tolerance, and peripheral insulin sensitivity. d-Ala2GIP-treated mice showed increased glucose-induced insulin secretion in response to intraperitoneal and oral glucose. Metabolic rate and ambulatory locomotor activity were increased (P<0.05 to P<0.001) in all desHis1Pro4Glu9(Lys12PAL)-glucagon-treated mice. These studies highlight the potential of glucagon receptor inhibition alone, and in combination with GIP receptor activation, for T2DM treatment.

Free access

Paige V Bauer and Frank A Duca

The rising global rates of type 2 diabetes and obesity present a significant economic and social burden, underscoring the importance for effective and safe therapeutic options. The success of glucagon-like-peptide-1 receptor agonists in the treatment of type 2 diabetes, along with the potent glucose-lowering effects of bariatric surgery, highlight the gastrointestinal tract as a potential target for diabetes treatment. Furthermore, recent evidence suggests that the gut plays a prominent role in the ability of metformin to lower glucose levels. As such, the current review highlights some of the current and potential pathways in the gut that could be targeted to improve glucose homeostasis, such as changes in nutrient sensing, gut peptides, gut microbiota and bile acids. A better understanding of these pathways will lay the groundwork for novel gut-targeted antidiabetic therapies, some of which have already shown initial promise.

Free access

Weiwei Xu, Jamie Morford, and Franck Mauvais-Jarvis

One of the most sexually dimorphic aspects of metabolic regulation is the bidirectional modulation of glucose homeostasis by testosterone in male and females. Severe testosterone deficiency predisposes men to type 2 diabetes (T2D), while in contrast, androgen excess predisposes women to hyperglycemia. The role of androgen deficiency and excess in promoting visceral obesity and insulin resistance in men and women respectively is well established. However, although it is established that hyperglycemia requires β cell dysfunction to develop, the role of testosterone in β cell function is less understood. This review discusses recent evidence that the androgen receptor (AR) is present in male and female β cells. In males, testosterone action on AR in β cells enhances glucose-stimulated insulin secretion by potentiating the insulinotropic action of glucagon-like peptide-1. In females, excess testosterone action via AR in β cells promotes insulin hypersecretion leading to oxidative injury, which in turn predisposes to T2D.

Free access

Chun Zeng, Xin Yi, Danny Zipris, Hongli Liu, Lin Zhang, Qiaoyun Zheng, Krishnamurthy Malathi, Ge Jin, and Aimin Zhou

The cause of type 1 diabetes continues to be a focus of investigation. Studies have revealed that interferon α (IFNα) in pancreatic islets after viral infection or treatment with double-stranded RNA (dsRNA), a mimic of viral infection, is associated with the onset of type 1 diabetes. However, how IFNα contributes to the onset of type 1 diabetes is obscure. In this study, we found that 2-5A-dependent RNase L (RNase L), an IFNα-inducible enzyme that functions in the antiviral and antiproliferative activities of IFN, played an important role in dsRNA-induced onset of type 1 diabetes. Using RNase L-deficient, rat insulin promoter-B7.1 transgenic mice, which are more vulnerable to harmful environmental factors such as viral infection, we demonstrated that deficiency of RNase L in mice resulted in a significant delay of diabetes onset induced by polyinosinic:polycytidylic acid (poly I:C), a type of synthetic dsRNA, and streptozotocin, a drug which can artificially induce type 1-like diabetes in experimental animals. Immunohistochemical staining results indicated that the population of infiltrated CD8+T cells was remarkably reduced in the islets of RNase L-deficient mice, indicating that RNase L may contribute to type 1 diabetes onset through regulating immune responses. Furthermore, RNase L was responsible for the expression of certain proinflammatory genes in the pancreas under induced conditions. Our findings provide new insights into the molecular mechanism underlying β-cell destruction and may indicate novel therapeutic strategies for treatment and prevention of the disease based on the selective regulation and inhibition of RNase L.

Free access

Alison J Forhead, Juanita K Jellyman, Katherine Gillham, Janelle W Ward, Dominique Blache, and Abigail L Fowden

The actions of angiotensin II on type 1 (AT1) and type 2 (AT2) receptor subtypes are important for normal kidney development before birth. This study investigated the effect of AT1 receptor antagonism on renal growth and growth regulators in fetal sheep during late gestation. From 125 days of gestation (term 145±2 days), chronically catheterised sheep fetuses were infused intravenously for 5 days with either an AT1-specific receptor antagonist (GR138950, 2–4 mg/kg per day, n=5) or saline (0.9% NaCl, n=5). Blockade of the AT1 receptor decreased arterial blood oxygenation and pH and increased blood pCO2, haemoglobin and lactate, and plasma cortisol and IGF-II. Blood glucose and plasma thyroid hormones and IGF-I were unchanged between the treatment groups. On the 5th day of infusion, the kidneys of the GR-treated fetuses were lighter than those of the control fetuses, both in absolute and relative terms, and were smaller in transverse cross-sectional width and cortical thickness. In the GR-infused fetuses, renal AT2 receptor protein concentration and glomerular density were significantly greater than in the saline-infused fetuses. Blockade of the AT1 receptor had no effect on relative cortical thickness, fractional or mean glomerular volumes, or renal protein levels of the AT1 receptor, IGF type 1 receptor, insulin receptor or protein kinase C ζ. Therefore, in the ovine fetus, AT1 receptor antagonism causes increased renal protein expression of the AT2 receptor subtype, which, combined with inhibition of AT1 receptor activity, may be partly responsible for growth retardation of the developing kidney.

Free access

L van Bloemendaal, J S ten Kulve, S E la Fleur, R G Ijzerman, and M Diamant

The delivery of nutrients to the gastrointestinal tract after food ingestion activates the secretion of several gut-derived mediators, including the incretin hormone glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1). GLP-1 receptor agonists (GLP-1RA), such as exenatide and liraglutide, are currently employed successfully in the treatment of patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus. GLP-1RA improve glycaemic control and stimulate satiety, leading to reductions in food intake and body weight. Besides gastric distension and peripheral vagal nerve activation, GLP-1RA induce satiety by influencing brain regions involved in the regulation of feeding, and several routes of action have been proposed. This review summarises the evidence for a physiological role of GLP-1 in the central regulation of feeding behaviour and the different routes of action involved. Also, we provide an overview of presently available data on pharmacological stimulation of GLP-1 pathways leading to alterations in CNS activity, reductions in food intake and weight loss.

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ME Guibbolini, PM Pierson, and B Lahlou

Neurohypophysial hormone receptors and second messengers were studied in trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) hepatocytes. Arginine vasotocin (AVT) and isotocin (IT) elicited a concentration-dependent inhibition of cAMP accumulation in the presence of 5x10(-8) M glucagon (maximal effect for 4.5x10(-7) M and 1.4x10(-7) M, half-maximal effect for 2.1x10(-8) M and 0.7x10(-8) M, AVT and IT respectively). The effect of glucagon was inhibited up to 90% by AVT and 80% by IT. While AVT inhibited (up to 50%) the basal cAMP production, IT had no such action. Specific V(1) or V(2) analogues (with reference to vasopressin in mammals) were used for pharmacological characterization of the type of neurohypophysial hormone receptor involved in this inhibition. The V(1) agonist [Phe(2), Orn(8)]-oxytocin inhibited the glucagon-stimulated cAMP production with a maximal effect for 6x10(-7) M and a half-maximal effect for 0.9x10(-8) M concentrations of the analogue. While the V(1) agonist reduced the glucagon-stimulated cAMP level by 70%, it showed only a tendency to reduce the basal level. The V(2) agonist [deamino(1), Val(4),d -Arg(8)]-vasopressin had no effect either on basal or on glucagon-stimulated cAMP production. The V(1) antagonist [d(CH(2))(5)(1), O-Me-Tyr(2), Arg(8)]-vasopressin totally reversed the 10(-8) M AVT-induced inhibition of 5x10(-8) M glucagon-stimulated cAMP production, whereas the V(2) antagonist [d(CH(2))(5)(1),d -Ile(2), Ile(4), Arg(8), Ala(9)]-vasopressin had no such effect. In this particular case, maximal and half-maximal effects of the V(1) antagonist were obtained for 2.3x10(-6) M and 1. 2x10(-6 )M respectively. Changes in intracellular calcium content were measured using the fluorescent probe FURA-2/AM. AVT and IT elicited a concentration-dependent increase in Ca(2+) accumulation. The comparison of the effect of 10(-8) M agonists versus AVT showed the following order of potency: AVT=IT>V(1) agonist>V(2) agonist. The V(1) antagonist reversed the AVT-induced Ca(2+) accumulation whereas the V(2) antagonist had no such effect. These results are taken as evidence for the presence in trout hepatocytes of neurohypophysial hormone receptors functionally close to the V(1a)-type linked to cAMP production and Ca(2+) mobilization.