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Front Biosci (Landmark Ed). 2011 Jan 1;16:251-60.

Role of estrogen receptors alpha, beta and GPER1/GPR30 in pancreatic beta-cells.

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  • 1CIBER de Diabetes y Enfermedades Metabolicas Asociadas and Instituto de Bioingenieria, Universidad Miguel Hernandez de Elche, Elche, Spain.


Estrogen receptors (ER) are emerging as important molecules involved in the adaptation of beta-cells to insulin resistance. The onset of type 2 diabetes is marked by insulin secretory dysfunction and decreased beta-cell mass. During pregnancy, puberty and obesity there is increased metabolic demand and insulin resistance is developed. This metabolic state increases the demand on beta-cells to augment insulin biosynthesis and release. In this respect, ERalpha is directly implicated in the E2-regulation of insulin content and secretion, while ERbeta is in the E2-potentiation of glucose-induced insulin release. Both receptors develop their actions within the physiological range of E2. In addition, the G protein-coupled estrogen receptor (GPER1/GPR30) seems to be implicated in the E2-regulation of stimulus-secretion coupling in the three cell types of the islet. The increased demand of insulin production for long time may lead to beta-cell stress and apoptosis. ERalpha, ERbeta and GPER1/GPR30 are involved in preventing beta-cell apoptosis, impeding the loss of critical beta-cell mass. Therefore, estrogen receptors may play an essential role in the adaptation of the pancreas to insulin resistant periods.

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