G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) cell signalling cascades are initiated upon binding of a specific agonist ligand to its cell surface receptor. Linking multiple heterologous ligands that simultaneously bind and potentially link different receptors on the cell surface is a unique approach to modulate cell responses. Moreover, if the target receptors are selected based on analysis of cell-specific expression of a receptor combination, then the linked binding elements might provide enhanced specificity of targeting the cell type of interest, that is, only to cells that express the complementary receptors. Two receptors whose expression is relatively specific (in combination) to insulin-secreting pancreatic β-cells are the sulfonylurea-1 (SUR1) and the glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptors. A heterobivalent ligand was assembled from the active fragment of GLP-1 (7-36 GLP-1) and glibenclamide, a small organic ligand for SUR1. The synthetic construct was labelled with Cy5 or europium chelated in DTPA to evaluate binding to β-cells, by using fluorescence microscopy or time-resolved saturation and competition binding assays, respectively. Once the ligand binds to β-cells, it is rapidly capped and presumably removed from the cell surface by endocytosis. The bivalent ligand had an affinity approximately fivefold higher than monomeric europium-labelled GLP-1, likely a result of cooperative binding to the complementary receptors on the βTC3 cells. The high-affinity binding was lost in the presence of either unlabelled monomer, thus demonstrating that interaction with both receptors is required for the enhanced binding at low concentrations. Importantly, bivalent enhancement was accomplished in a cell system with physiological levels of expression of the complementary receptors, thus indicating that this approach might be applicable for β-cell targeting in vivo.
Insulin secretion is stimulated by glucose metabolism and inhibited by catecholamines through adrenergic receptor stimulation. We determined whether catecholamines suppress oxidative metabolism in β-cells through adrenergic receptors. In Min6 cells and isolated rat islets, epinephrine decreased oxygen consumption rates compared to vehicle control or co-administration of epinephrine with α2-adrenergic receptor antagonist yohimbine. Epinephrine also decreased forskolin-stimulated oxygen consumption rates, indicating cAMP dependent and independent actions. Furthermore, glucose oxidation rates were decreased with epinephrine, independent of the exocytosis of insulin, which was blocked with yohimbine. We evaluated metabolic targets through proteomic analysis after 4 h epinephrine exposure that revealed 466 differentially expressed proteins that were significantly enriched for processes including oxidative metabolism, protein turnover, exocytosis, and cell proliferation. These results demonstrate that acute α2-adrenergic stimulation suppresses glucose oxidation in β-cells independent of nutrient availability and insulin exocytosis, while cAMP concentrations are elevated. Proteomics and immunoblots revealed changes in electron transport chain proteins that were correlated with lower metabolic reducing equivalents, intracellular ATP concentrations, and altered mitochondrial membrane potential implicating a new role for adrenergic control of mitochondrial function and ultimately insulin secretion.
The scarcity of human cadaveric pancreata limits large-scale application of islet transplantation for patients with diabetes. Islets isolated from pathogen-free pigs provide an economical and abundant alternative source assuming immunologic barriers are appropriate. Membrane receptors involved in insulin secretion that also have potential as imaging targets were investigated in isolated porcine islets. Quantitative (q)PCR revealed that porcine islets express mRNA transcripts for sulfonylurea receptor 1 (Sur1), inward rectifying potassium channel (Kir6.2, associated with Sur1), glucagon-like peptide 1 receptor (GLP1R), and adrenergic receptor alpha 2A (ADRα2A). Receptor function was assessed in static incubations with stimulatory glucose concentrations, and in the presence of receptor agonists. Glibenclamide, an anti-diabetic sulfonylurea, and exendin-4, a GLP-1 mimetic, potentiated glucose-stimulated insulin secretion >2-fold. Conversely, epinephrine maximally reduced insulin secretion 72 ± 9% (P
Complications in pregnancy elevate fetal norepinephrine (NE) concentrations. Previous studies in NE-infused sheep fetuses revealed that sustained exposure to high NE resulted in lower expression of α2-adrenergic receptors in islets and increased insulin secretion responsiveness after acutely terminating the NE infusion. In this study, we determined if the compensatory increase in insulin secretion after chronic elevation of NE is independent of hyperglycemia in sheep fetuses and whether it is persistent in conjunction with islet desensitization to NE. After an initial assessment of glucose-stimulated insulin secretion (GSIS) at 129 ± 1 days of gestation, fetuses were continuously infused for seven days with NE and maintained at euglycemia with a maternal insulin infusion. Fetal GSIS studies were performed again on days 8 and 12. Adrenergic sensitivity was determined in pancreatic islets collected at day 12. NE infusion increased (P
Encapsulation devices have the potential to enable cell-based insulin replacement therapies (such as human islet or stem cell-derived β cell transplantation) without immunosuppression. However, reasonably sized encapsulation devices promote ischemia due to high β cell densities creating prohibitively large diffusional distances for nutrients. It is hypothesized that even acute ischemic exposure will compromise the therapeutic potential of cell-based insulin replacement. In this study, the acute effects of high-density ischemia were investigated in human islets to develop a detailed profile of early ischemia induced changes and targets for intervention.