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An increase in hepatic glucose production (HGP) is a key feature of type 2 diabetes. Excessive signaling through hepatic Gs-linked glucagon receptors critically contributes to pathologically elevated HGP. Here, we tested the hypothesis that this metabolic impairment can be counteracted by enhancing hepatic Gi signaling. Specifically, we used a chemogenetic approach to selectively activate Gi-type G proteins in mouse hepatocytes in vivo. Unexpectedly, activation of hepatic Gi signaling triggered a pronounced increase in HGP and severely impaired glucose homeostasis. Moreover, increased Gi signaling stimulated glucose release in human hepatocytes. A lack of functional Gi-type G proteins in hepatocytes reduced blood glucose levels and protected mice against the metabolic deficits caused by the consumption of a high-fat diet. Additionally, we delineated a signaling cascade that links hepatic Gi signaling to ROS production, JNK activation, and a subsequent increase in HGP. Taken together, our data support the concept that drugs able to block hepatic Gi-coupled GPCRs may prove beneficial as antidiabetic drugs.
An increase in hepatic glucose production (HGP) represents a key feature of type 2 diabetes. This deficiency in metabolic control of glucose production critically depends on enhanced signaling through hepatic glucagon receptors (GCGRs). Here, we have demonstrated that selective inactivation of the GPCR-associated protein β-arrestin 2 in hepatocytes of adult mice results in greatly increased hepatic GCGR signaling, leading to striking deficits in glucose homeostasis. However, hepatocyte-specific β-arrestin 2 deficiency did not affect hepatic insulin sensitivity or β-adrenergic signaling. Adult mice lacking β-arrestin 1 selectively in hepatocytes did not show any changes in glucose homeostasis. Importantly, hepatocyte-specific overexpression of β-arrestin 2 greatly reduced hepatic GCGR signaling and protected mice against the metabolic deficits caused by the consumption of a high-fat diet. Our data support the concept that strategies aimed at enhancing hepatic β-arrestin 2 activity could prove useful for suppressing HGP for therapeutic purposes.
Glucagon secretion dysregulation in diabetes fosters hyperglycemia. Recent studies report that mice lacking glucagon receptor (Gcgr(-/-)) do not develop diabetes following streptozotocin (STZ)-mediated ablation of insulin-producing β-cells. Here, we show that diabetes prevention in STZ-treated Gcgr(-/-) animals requires remnant insulin action originating from spared residual β-cells: these mice indeed became hyperglycemic after insulin receptor blockade. Accordingly, Gcgr(-/-) mice developed hyperglycemia after induction of a more complete, diphtheria toxin (DT)-induced β-cell loss, a situation of near-absolute insulin deficiency similar to type 1 diabetes. In addition, glucagon deficiency did not impair the natural capacity of α-cells to reprogram into insulin production after extreme β-cell loss. α-to-β-cell conversion was improved in Gcgr(-/-) mice as a consequence of α-cell hyperplasia. Collectively, these results indicate that glucagon antagonism could i) be a useful adjuvant therapy in diabetes only when residual insulin action persists, and ii) help devising future β-cell regeneration therapies relying upon α-cell reprogramming.
Glucagon antagonism is a potential treatment for diabetes. One potential side effect is α-cell hyperplasia, which has been noted in several approaches to antagonize glucagon action. To investigate the molecular mechanism of the α-cell hyperplasia and to identify the responsible factor, we created a zebrafish model in which glucagon receptor (gcgr) signaling has been interrupted. The genetically and chemically tractable zebrafish, which provides a robust discovery platform, has two gcgr genes (gcgra and gcgrb) in its genome. Sequence, phylogenetic, and synteny analyses suggest that these are co-orthologs of the human GCGR. Similar to its mammalian counterparts, gcgra and gcgrb are mainly expressed in the liver. We inactivated the zebrafish gcgra and gcgrb using transcription activator-like effector nuclease (TALEN) first individually and then both genes, and assessed the number of α-cells using an α-cell reporter line, Tg(gcga:GFP). Compared to WT fish at 7 days postfertilization, there were more α-cells in gcgra-/-, gcgrb-/-, and gcgra-/-;gcgrb-/- fish and there was an increased rate of α-cell proliferation in the gcgra-/-;gcgrb-/- fish. Glucagon levels were higher but free glucose levels were lower in gcgra-/-, gcgrb-/-, and gcgra-/-;gcgrb-/- fish, similar to Gcgr-/- mice. These results indicate that the compensatory α-cell hyperplasia in response to interruption of glucagon signaling is conserved in zebrafish. The robust α-cell hyperplasia in gcgra-/-;gcgrb-/- larvae provides a platform to screen for chemical and genetic suppressors, and ultimately to identify the stimulus of α-cell hyperplasia and its signaling mechanism.
© 2015 Society for Endocrinology.
A duplexed, functional multiaddition high throughput screen and subsequent iterative parallel synthesis effort identified the first highly selective and CNS penetrant glucagon-like peptide-1R (GLP-1R) positive allosteric modulator (PAM). PAM (S)-9b potentiated low-dose exenatide to augment insulin secretion in primary mouse pancreatic islets, and (S)-9b alone was effective in potentiating endogenous GLP-1R to reverse haloperidol-induced catalepsy.
Injectable, degradation-resistant peptide agonists for the glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) receptor (GLP-1R), such as exenatide and liraglutide, activate the GLP-1R via a complex orthosteric-binding site and are effective therapeutics for glycemic control in type 2 diabetes. Orally bioavailable orthosteric small-molecule agonists are unlikely to be developed, whereas positive allosteric modulators (PAMs) may offer an improved therapeutic profile. We hypothesize that allosteric modulators of the GLP-1R would increase the potency and efficacy of native GLP-1 in a spatial and temporally preserved manner and/or may improve efficacy or side effects of injectable analogs. We report the design, optimization, and initial results of a duplexed high-throughput screen in which cell lines overexpressing either the GLP-1R or the glucagon receptor were coplated, loaded with a calcium-sensitive dye, and probed in a three-phase assay to identify agonists, antagonists, and potentiators of GLP-1, and potentiators of glucagon. 175,000 compounds were initially screened, and progression through secondary assays yielded 98 compounds with a variety of activities at the GLP-1R. Here, we describe five compounds possessing different patterns of modulation of the GLP-1R. These data uncover PAMs that may offer a drug-development pathway to enhancing in vivo efficacy of both endogenous GLP-1 and peptide analogs.
© 2014 Society for Laboratory Automation and Screening.
Glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) is a gut incretin hormone that has an antioxidative protective effect on various tissues. Here, we determined whether GLP-1 has a role in the pathogenesis of diabetic nephropathy using nephropathy-resistant C57BL/6-Akita and nephropathy-prone KK/Ta-Akita mice. By in situ hybridization, we found the GLP-1 receptor (GLP-1R) expressed in glomerular capillary and vascular walls, but not in tubuli, in the mouse kidney. Next, we generated C57BL/6-Akita Glp1r knockout mice. These mice exhibited higher urinary albumin levels and more advanced mesangial expansion than wild-type C57BL/6-Akita mice, despite comparable levels of hyperglycemia. Increased glomerular superoxide, upregulated renal NAD(P)H oxidase, and reduced renal cAMP and protein kinase A (PKA) activity were noted in the Glp1r knockout C57BL/6-Akita mice. Treatment with the GLP-1R agonist liraglutide suppressed the progression of nephropathy in KK/Ta-Akita mice, as demonstrated by reduced albuminuria and mesangial expansion, decreased levels of glomerular superoxide and renal NAD(P)H oxidase, and elevated renal cAMP and PKA activity. These effects were abolished by an adenylate cyclase inhibitor SQ22536 and a selective PKA inhibitor H-89. Thus, GLP-1 has a crucial role in protection against increased renal oxidative stress under chronic hyperglycemia, by inhibition of NAD(P)H oxidase, a major source of superoxide, and by cAMP-PKA pathway activation.
The impact of the GLP-1 receptor agonist lixisenatide on postprandial glucose disposition was examined in conscious dogs to identify mechanisms for its improvement of meal tolerance in humans and examine the tissue disposition of meal-derived carbohydrate. Catheterization for measurement of hepatic balance occurred ≈16 days before study. After being fasted overnight, dogs received a subcutaneous injection of 1.5 μg/kg lixisenatide or vehicle (saline, control; n = 6/group). Thirty minutes later, they received an oral meal feeding (93.4 kJ; 19% protein, 71% glucose polymers, and 10% lipid). Acetaminophen was included in the meal in four control and five lixisenatide dogs for assessment of gastric emptying. Observations continued for 510 min; absorption was incomplete in lixisenatide at that point. The plasma acetaminophen area under the curve (AUC) in lixisenatide was 65% of that in control (P < 0.05). Absorption of the meal began within 15 min in control but was delayed until ≈30-45 min in lixisenatide. Lixisenatide reduced (P < 0.05) the postprandial arterial glucose AUC ≈54% and insulin AUC ≈44%. Net hepatic glucose uptake did not differ significantly between groups. Nonhepatic glucose uptake tended to be reduced by lixisenatide (6,151 ± 4,321 and 10,541 ± 1,854 μmol·kg(-1)·510 min(-1) in lixisenatide and control, respectively; P = 0.09), but adjusted (for glucose and insulin concentrations) values did not differ (18.9 ± 3.8 and 19.6 ± 7.9 l·kg(-1)·pmol(-1)·l(-1), lixisenatide and control, respectively; P = 0.94). Thus, lixisenatide delays gastric emptying, allowing more efficient disposal of the carbohydrate in the feeding without increasing liver glucose disposal. Lixisenatide could prove to be a valuable adjunct in treatment of postprandial hyperglycemia in impaired glucose tolerance or type 2 diabetes.
Accumulating evidence of the beyond-glucose lowering effects of a gut-released hormone, glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1), has been reported in the context of remote organ connections of the cardiovascular system. Specifically, GLP-1 appears to prevent apoptosis, and inhibition of dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP-4), which cleaves GLP-1, is renoprotective in rodent ischemia-reperfusion injury models. Whether this renoprotection involves enhanced GLP-1 signaling is unclear, however, because DPP-4 cleaves other molecules as well. Thus, we investigated whether modulation of GLP-1 signaling attenuates cisplatin (CP)-induced AKI. Mice injected with 15 mg/kg CP had increased BUN and serum creatinine and CP caused remarkable pathologic renal injury, including tubular necrosis. Apoptosis was also detected in the tubular epithelial cells of CP-treated mice using immunoassays for single-stranded DNA and activated caspase-3. Treatment with a DPP-4 inhibitor, alogliptin (AG), significantly reduced CP-induced renal injury and reduced the renal mRNA expression ratios of Bax/Bcl-2 and Bim/Bcl-2. AG treatment increased the blood levels of GLP-1, but reversed the CP-induced increase in the levels of other DPP-4 substrates such as stromal cell-derived factor-1 and neuropeptide Y. Furthermore, the GLP-1 receptor agonist exendin-4 reduced CP-induced renal injury and apoptosis, and suppression of renal GLP-1 receptor expression in vivo by small interfering RNA reversed the renoprotective effects of AG. These data suggest that enhancing GLP-1 signaling ameliorates CP-induced AKI via antiapoptotic effects and that this gut-kidney axis could be a new therapeutic target in AKI.
BTBR mice develop severe diabetes in response to genetically induced obesity due to a failure of the β-cells to compensate for peripheral insulin resistance. In analyzing BTBR islet gene expression patterns, we observed that Pgter3, the gene for the prostaglandin E receptor 3 (EP3), was upregulated with diabetes. The EP3 receptor is stimulated by prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) and couples to G-proteins of the Gi subfamily to decrease intracellular cAMP, blunting glucose-stimulated insulin secretion (GSIS). Also upregulated were several genes involved in the synthesis of PGE2. We hypothesized that increased signaling through EP3 might be coincident with the development of diabetes and contribute to β-cell dysfunction. We confirmed that the PGE2-to-EP3 signaling pathway was active in islets from confirmed diabetic BTBR mice and human cadaveric donors, with increased EP3 expression, PGE2 production, and function of EP3 agonists and antagonists to modulate cAMP production and GSIS. We also analyzed the impact of EP3 receptor activation on signaling through the glucagon-like peptide (GLP)-1 receptor. We demonstrated that EP3 agonists antagonize GLP-1 signaling, decreasing the maximal effect that GLP-1 can elicit on cAMP production and GSIS. Taken together, our results identify EP3 as a new therapeutic target for β-cell dysfunction in T2D.