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Diabetes. 2005 Feb;54(2):482-91.

beta-Cell Pdx1 expression is essential for the glucoregulatory, proliferative, and cytoprotective actions of glucagon-like peptide-1.

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Department of Medicine, University of Toronto, Banting and Best Diabetes Centre, Toronto General Hospital, 200 Elizabeth St., MBRW 4R402-2, Toronto, Canada M5G 2C4.


Glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) regulates energy intake, gastrointestinal motility, and nutrient disposal. The relative importance of the islet beta-cell for GLP-1 actions remains unclear. We determined the role of the islet beta-cell and the pancreatic duodenal homeobox-1 (Pdx1) transcription factor for GLP-1 receptor (GLP-1R)-dependent actions through analysis of mice with beta-cell-specific inactivation of the Pdx1 gene (beta-cell(Pdx1-/-) mice). The GLP-1R agonist exendin-4 (Ex-4) reduced glycemic excursion following intraperitoneal (i.p.) glucose challenge in control littermates (beta-cell(Pdx1+/+) mice) but not in beta-cell(Pdx1-/-) mice. Similarly, Ex-4 failed to increase levels of plasma insulin, pancreatic insulin content, and pancreatic insulin mRNA transcripts in beta-cell(Pdx1-/-) mice. Furthermore, Ex-4 significantly increased beta-cell proliferation and reduced beta-cell apoptosis in beta-cell(Pdx1+/+) mice but not in beta-cell(Pdx1-/-) mice. Moreover, Ex-4 increased the levels of insulin and amylin mRNA transcripts and augmented glucose-stimulated insulin secretion in islets from beta-cell(Pdx1+/+) mice but not in beta-cell(Pdx1-/-) islets. Surprisingly, Ex-4 failed to reduce levels of plasma glucagon in beta-cell(Pdx1-/-) mice. These findings demonstrate that Pdx1 expression is essential for integrating GLP-1R-dependent signals regulating alpha-cell glucagon secretion and for the growth, differentiated function, and survival of islet beta-cells.

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