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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

Elisabet Estil.les, Noèlia Téllez, Joan Soler, and Eduard Montanya

Interleukin-1β (IL1B) is an important contributor to the autoimmune destruction of β-cells in type 1 diabetes, and it has been recently related to the development of type 2 diabetes. IGF2 stimulates β-cell proliferation and survival. We have determined the effect of IL1B on β-cell replication, and the potential modulation by IGF2 and glucose. Control-uninfected and adenovirus encoding for IGF2 (Ad-IGF2)-infected rat islets were cultured at 5.5 or 22.2 mmol/l glucose with or without 1, 10, 30, and 50 U/ml of IL1B. β-Cell replication was markedly reduced by 10 U/ml of IL1B and was almost nullified with 30 or 50 U/ml of IL1B. Higher concentrations of IL1B were required to increase β-cell apoptosis. Although IGF2 overexpression had a strong mitogenic effect on β-cells, IGF2 could preserve β-cell proliferation only in islets cultured with 10 U/ml IL1B, and had no effect with 30 and 50 U/ml of IL1B. In contrast, IGF2 overexpression induced a clear protection against IL1B-induced apoptosis, and higher concentrations of the cytokine were needed to increase β-cell apoptosis in Ad-IGF2-infected islets. These results indicate that β-cell replication is highly sensitive to the deleterious effects of the IL1B as shown by the inhibition of replication by relatively low IL1B concentrations, and the almost complete suppression of β-cell replication with high IL1B concentrations. Likewise, the inhibitory effects of IL-β on β-cell replication were not modified by glucose, and were only modestly prevented by IGF2 overexpression, in contrast with the higher protection against IL1B-induced apoptosis afforded by glucose and by IGF2 overexpression.

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.

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Seven morphologically and tinctorially distinct types of cell (types 1–) have been distinguished in the pars anterior of the pituitary gland of the musk shrew (Suncus murinus L.). On the basis of their responses to various experimental stimuli, these cell types were correlated with the secretion of various trophic hormones. Type 1 cells exhibited conspicuous changes after thyroidectomy or inactivation of the thyroid gland and hence appeared to be the source of TSH. Types 2 and 3 cells responded to gonadectomy and administration of androgens, which suggests that they were associated with gonadotrophin secretion. The granules of the type 2, but not the type 3 cells could be extracted with 10% trichloroacetic acid, which may indicate that type 2 and 3 cells secrete FSH and LH respectively. After the administration of either reserpine or oestrogen, the type 4 cells underwent hypertrophy and hyperplasia, which suggests that they were the likely source of prolactin. Type 6 cells, which are distinguishable from type 4 cells by their thinly dispersed erythrosinophilic granulation, showed conspicuous changes after unilateral adrenalectomy, administration of metyrapone or exposure to stress and may therefore be responsible for secretion of ACTH. Type 5 cells tinctorially resembled the somatotrophic cells of other mammalian species and did not respond to any of the experimental treatments used in the present study. It is therefore possible that these cells have a somatotrophic function. The possible significance of type 7 cells has been discussed previously.

Free access

N M Whalley, L E Pritchard, D M Smith, and A White

Proglucagon is cleaved to glucagon by prohormone convertase 2 (PC2) in pancreatic α-cells, but is cleaved to glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) by PC1 in intestinal L-cells. The aim of this study was to identify mechanisms which switch processing of proglucagon to generate GLP-1 in the pancreas, given that GLP-1 can increase insulin secretion and β-cell mass. The α-cell line, αTC1-6, expressed PC1 at low levels and GLP-1 was detected in cells and in culture media. GLP-1 was also found in isolated human islets and in rat islets cultured for 7 days. High glucose concentrations increased Pc1 gene expression and PC1 protein in rat islets. High glucose (25 mM) also increased GLP-1 but decreased glucagon secretion from αTC1-6 cells suggesting a switch in processing to favour GLP-1. Three G protein-coupled receptors, GPR120, TGR5 and GPR119, implicated in the release of GLP-1 from L-cells are expressed in αTC1-6 cells. Incubation of these cells with an agonist of TGR5 increased PC1 promoter activity and GLP-1 secretion suggesting that this is a mechanism for switching processing to GLP-1 in the pancreas. Treatment of isolated rat islets with streptozotocin caused β-cell toxicity as evidenced by decreased glucose-stimulated insulin secretion. This increased GLP-1 but not glucagon in the islets. In summary, proglucagon can be processed to GLP-1 in pancreatic cells. This process is upregulated by elevated glucose, activation of TGR5 and β-cell destruction. Understanding this phenomenon may lead to advances in therapies to protect β-cell mass, and thereby slow progression from insulin resistance to type 2 diabetes.

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The ultrastructure of the adenohypophysis of the rabbit, after treatment with propylthiouracil, is described. All cells in the zona tuberalis and pars distalis proper, with the exception of the prolactin producing (type 1) and stellate cells (type 5), were affected. However, the only ones which presented some evidence of sequential changes were the type 4 cells. These became markedly degranulated and sometimes showed vesiculation of the cisternae of the granular endoplasmic reticulum, similar to that observed in the 'thyroidectomy' cells in some other species. Although changes occurred in the somatotrophs (type 2) and in the gonadotrophs (type 3) the evidence suggests that it is the type 4 cells which have a thyrotrophic function.

Free access

Benjamin J Lamont and Sofianos Andrikopoulos

Incretin-based therapies appear to offer many advantages over other approaches for treating type 2 diabetes. Some preclinical studies have suggested that chronic activation of glucagon-like peptide 1 receptor (GLP1R) signalling in the pancreas may result in the proliferation of islet β-cells and an increase in β-cell mass. This provided hope that enhancing GLP1 action could potentially alter the natural progression of type 2 diabetes. However, to date, there has been no evidence from clinical trials suggesting that GLP1R agonists or dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP4) inhibitors can increase β-cell mass. Nevertheless, while the proliferative capacity of these agents remains controversial, some studies have raised concerns that they could potentially contribute to the development of pancreatitis and hence increase the risk of pancreatic cancer. Currently, there are very limited clinical data to directly assess these potential benefits and risks of incretin-based therapies. However, a review of the preclinical studies indicates that incretin-based therapies probably have only a limited capacity to regenerate pancreatic β-cells, but may be useful for preserving any remaining β-cells in type 2 diabetes. In addition, the majority of preclinical evidence does not support the notion that GLP1R agonists or DPP4 inhibitors cause pancreatitis.

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S. J. Winder, S. D. Wheatley, and I. A. Forsyth


Sucrose density centrifugation was used to prepare a partially purified membrane fraction from the mammary glands of non-pregnant, pregnant and lactating sheep. The binding of125 I-labelled insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I) was dependent on membrane protein concentration, pH, time and temperature. The binding showed the characteristics of a type-1 IGF receptor, being displaced by IGF-I (median effective dose (ED50) 0·55 nmol/l), less effectively by IGF-II (ED50 8·8 nmol/l) and least effectively by insulin. Glucagon, ovine prolactin and ovine placental lactogen could not displace binding. A molecular weight of 135 000 was determined by affinity cross-linking using disuccinimidyl suberate; this was consistent with the reported size of the type-1 receptor α-subunit. Scatchard analysis was used to determine binding affinity and numbers of IGF-I-binding sites. A single class of high-affinity binding sites was found in all physiological states. In non-pregnant sheep and sheep at days 40, 75 and 110–120 of pregnancy and at term, the binding affinity was similar (apparent dissociation constant (K d) 2·73 ±0·31 nmol/l, n = 22). In lactating sheep (weeks 1, 4 and 10), the binding affinity was significantly (P = 0·02) higher (K d 0·77± 0·06 nmol/l n = 9). Binding capacity was similar in non-pregnant and pregnant sheep (1005 ± 113 fmol/mg, n = 19), but fell by parturition and remained low in lactation (570±52 fmol/mg membrane protein, n = 12). The results suggest that the mammary growth of pregnancy is not regulated at the level of the type-1 IGF receptor.

Journal of Endocrinology (1993) 136, 297–304

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.

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.