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Diabetologia. 2011 Aug;54(8):2067-76. doi: 10.1007/s00125-011-2181-x. Epub 2011 May 13.

Stromal cell-derived factor-1 (SDF-1)/chemokine (C-X-C motif) receptor 4 (CXCR4) axis activation induces intra-islet glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) production and enhances beta cell survival.

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Laboratory of Molecular Endocrinology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, USA.



The endogenous production of stromal cell-derived factor-1 (SDF-1) in beta cells in transgenic mice attenuates the development of diabetes in response to streptozotocin. Here we propose that beta cell injury induces SDF-1 production, and the SDF-1/chemokine (C-X-C motif) receptor 4 (CXCR4) interaction auto-activates Sdf1 expression, resulting in the autocrine production of SDF-1 by beta cells and the paracrine activation of glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) production by alpha cells.


SDF-1 production in adult mouse and human islets and rat INS-1 cells was measured in models of beta cell injury. The paracrine actions of SDF-1 on GLP-1 production in alpha cells were explored. The potential synergism between the growth-promoting actions of GLP-1 and the pro-survival actions of SDF-1 on the preservation of cell mass was evaluated by cell viability assays.


In adult islets and INS-1 cells, Sdf1 expression was re-induced in response to injury. The interaction of SDF-1 with its receptor on alphaTC1 cells activated protein kinase Akt, stimulated cell proliferation and induced the expression of prohormone convertase 1/3 and the consequent production of GLP-1 in alpha cells. The combination of GLP-1 and SDF-1 additively enhanced both the growth and longevity of INS-1 beta cells.


The results of these studies suggest that in response to beta cell injury and the ensuing induction of SDF-1, the biological function of alpha cells switches from the production of glucagon to the provision of the local growth factor GLP-1 which, in combination with SDF-1, promotes the growth, survival and viability of the beta cells.

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