Diabetes is characterized by the loss, or gradual dysfunction, of insulin-producing pancreatic β-cells. Although β-cells can replicate in younger adults, the available diabetes therapies do not specifically target β-cell regeneration. Novel approaches are needed to discover new therapeutics and to understand the contributions of endocrine progenitors and β-cell regeneration during islet expansion. Here, we show that the regulators of G protein signaling Rgs16 and Rgs8 are expressed in pancreatic progenitor and endocrine cells during development, then extinguished in adults, but reactivated in models of both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Exendin-4, a glucagon-like peptide 1 (Glp-1)/incretin mimetic that stimulates β-cell expansion, insulin secretion and normalization of blood glucose levels in diabetics, also promoted re-expression of Rgs16::GFP within a few days in pancreatic ductal-associated cells and islet β-cells. These findings show that Rgs16::GFP and Rgs8::GFP are novel and early reporters of G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR)-stimulated β-cell expansion after therapeutic treatment and in diabetes models. Rgs16 and Rgs8 are likely to control aspects of islet progenitor cell activation, differentiation and β-cell expansion in embryos and metabolically stressed adults.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Neuroscience (miscellaneous)
- Medicine (miscellaneous)
- Immunology and Microbiology (miscellaneous)
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)