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J Endocrinol. 2011 Oct;211(1):99-106. doi: 10.1530/JOE-11-0094. Epub 2011 Jul 27.

Processing of proglucagon to GLP-1 in pancreatic α-cells: is this a paracrine mechanism enabling GLP-1 to act on β-cells?

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1
Faculty of Medical and Human Sciences, Manchester Academic Health Sciences Centre, University of Manchester, 3.016 AV Hill Building, Manchester M13 9PT, UK.

Abstract

Proglucagon is cleaved to glucagon by prohormone convertase 2 (PC2) in pancreatic α-cells, but is cleaved to glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) by PC1 in intestinal L-cells. The aim of this study was to identify mechanisms which switch processing of proglucagon to generate GLP-1 in the pancreas, given that GLP-1 can increase insulin secretion and β-cell mass. The α-cell line, αTC1-6, expressed PC1 at low levels and GLP-1 was detected in cells and in culture media. GLP-1 was also found in isolated human islets and in rat islets cultured for 7 days. High glucose concentrations increased Pc1 gene expression and PC1 protein in rat islets. High glucose (25  mM) also increased GLP-1 but decreased glucagon secretion from αTC1-6 cells suggesting a switch in processing to favour GLP-1. Three G protein-coupled receptors, GPR120, TGR5 and GPR119, implicated in the release of GLP-1 from L-cells are expressed in αTC1-6 cells. Incubation of these cells with an agonist of TGR5 increased PC1 promoter activity and GLP-1 secretion suggesting that this is a mechanism for switching processing to GLP-1 in the pancreas. Treatment of isolated rat islets with streptozotocin caused β-cell toxicity as evidenced by decreased glucose-stimulated insulin secretion. This increased GLP-1 but not glucagon in the islets. In summary, proglucagon can be processed to GLP-1 in pancreatic cells. This process is upregulated by elevated glucose, activation of TGR5 and β-cell destruction. Understanding this phenomenon may lead to advances in therapies to protect β-cell mass, and thereby slow progression from insulin resistance to type 2 diabetes.

PMID:
21795304
DOI:
10.1530/JOE-11-0094
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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