Integrated human pseudoislet system and microfluidic platform demonstrate differences in GPCR signaling in islet cells.
ABSTRACT: Pancreatic islets secrete insulin from ? cells and glucagon from ? cells, and dysregulated secretion of these hormones is a central component of diabetes. Thus, an improved understanding of the pathways governing coordinated ? and ? cell hormone secretion will provide insight into islet dysfunction in diabetes. However, the 3D multicellular islet architecture, essential for coordinated islet function, presents experimental challenges for mechanistic studies of intracellular signaling pathways in primary islet cells. Here, we developed an integrated approach to study the function of primary human islet cells using genetically modified pseudoislets that resemble native islets across multiple parameters. Further, we developed a microperifusion system that allowed synchronous acquisition of GCaMP6f biosensor signal and hormone secretory profiles. We demonstrate the utility of this experimental approach by studying the effects of Gi and Gq GPCR pathways on insulin and glucagon secretion by expressing the designer receptors exclusively activated by designer drugs (DREADDs) hM4Di or hM3Dq. Activation of Gi signaling reduced insulin and glucagon secretion, while activation of Gq signaling stimulated glucagon secretion but had both stimulatory and inhibitory effects on insulin secretion, which occur through changes in intracellular Ca2+. The experimental approach of combining pseudoislets with a microfluidic system allowed the coregistration of intracellular signaling dynamics and hormone secretion and demonstrated differences in GPCR signaling pathways between human ? and ? cells.
Project description:Misregulated hormone secretion from the islet of Langerhans is central to the pathophysiology of diabetes. Although insulin plays a key role in glucose regulation, the importance of glucagon is increasingly acknowledged. However, the mechanisms that regulate glucagon secretion from ?-cells are still unclear. We used pseudoislets reconstituted from dispersed islet cells to study ?-cells with and without various indirect effects from other islet cells. Dispersed islet cells secrete aberrant levels of glucagon and insulin at basal and elevated glucose levels. When cultured, murine islet cells reassociate to form pseudoislets, which recover normal glucose-regulated hormone secretion, and human islet cells follow a similar pattern. We created small (?40-µm) pseudoislets using all of the islet cells or only some of the cell types, which allowed us to characterize novel aspects of regulated hormone secretion. The recovery of regulated glucagon secretion from ?-cells in small pseudoislets depends upon the combined action of paracrine factors, such as insulin and somatostatin, and juxtacrine signals between EphA4/7 on ?-cells and ephrins on ?-cells. Although these signals modulate different pathways, both appear to be required for proper inhibition of glucagon secretion in response to glucose. This improved understanding of the modulation of glucagon secretion can provide novel therapeutic routes for the treatment of some individuals with diabetes.
Project description:Isolated human islets do not always meet the quality standards required for transplant survival and reliable functional in vitro studies. The formation of pseudoislets, i.e. the reaggregation of a defined number of islet cells after dissociation, improves insulin secretion. We present a simple method of pseudoislet formation from human islet cells and assess the transcriptome and function of isolated human islets and pseudoislets from the same organ donors. Following pseudoislet formation, insulin content/DNA and mRNA/RPS13 resembled that of islets. In pseudoislets, glucose-stimulated insulin secretion (GSIS) was significantly higher (8-13-fold) than in islets (2-4-fold). GSIS of pseudoislets was partly inhibited by the glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor (GLP-1R) antagonist exendin-9. The stimulatory effects of palmitate and forskolin at 12?mM glucose were also significantly higher in pseudoislets than in islets. Further analysis of pseudoislets revealed that regulation of secretion and insulin and glucagon content was maintained over a longer culture period (6-14 d). While adrenaline inhibited GSIS, adrenaline together with palmitate stimulated glucagon secretion 2-fold at low glucose, an effect suppressed by high glucose. Transcriptome analysis revealed that, unlike islets, pseudoislets were deprived of exocrine and endothelial cells. In conclusion, pseudoislet formation restores functional integrity of human islet cells and allows long-term in vitro testing.
Project description:Glucagon, a hormone released from pancreatic alpha-cells, plays a key role in maintaining proper glucose homeostasis and has been implicated in the pathophysiology of diabetes. In vitro studies suggest that intra-islet glucagon can modulate the function of pancreatic beta-cells. However, because of the lack of suitable experimental tools, the in vivo physiological role of this intra-islet cross-talk has remained elusive. To address this issue, we generated a novel mouse model that selectively expressed an inhibitory designer G protein-coupled receptor (Gi DREADD) in α-cells only. Drug-induced activation of this inhibitory designer receptor almost completely shut off glucagon secretion in vivo, resulting in significantly impaired insulin secretion, hyperglycemia, and glucose intolerance. Additional studies with mouse and human islets indicated that intra-islet glucagon stimulates insulin release primarily by activating β-cell GLP-1 receptors. These new findings strongly suggest that intra-islet glucagon signaling is essential for maintaining proper glucose homeostasis in vivo. Our work may pave the way toward the development of novel classes of antidiabetic drugs that act by modulating intra-islet cross-talk between α- and β-cells.
Project description:AIMS/HYPOTHESIS: Beta cells situated in the islet of Langerhans respond more vigorously to glucose than do dissociated beta cells. Mechanisms for this discrepancy were studied by comparing insulin-producing MIN6 cells aggregated into pseudoislets with MIN6 monolayer cells and mouse and human islets. METHODS: MIN6 monolayers, pseudoislets and mouse and human islets were exposed to glucose, ?-ketoisocaproic acid (KIC), pyruvate, KIC plus glutamine and the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) inhibitors LY294002 or wortmannin. Insulin secretion (ELISA), cytoplasmic Ca(2+) concentration ([Ca(2+)]c; microfluorometry), glucose oxidation (radiolabelling), the expression of genes involved in mitochondrial metabolism (PCR) and the phosphorylation of insulin receptor signalling proteins (western blotting) were measured. RESULTS: Insulin secretory responses to glucose, pyruvate, KIC and glutamine were higher in pseudoislets than monolayers and comparable to those of human islets. Glucose oxidation and genes for mitochondrial metabolism were upregulated in pseudoislets compared with single cells and monolayers, respectively. Phosphorylation at the inhibitory S636/639 site of IRS-1 was significantly higher in monolayers and dispersed human and mouse cells than pseudoislets and intact human and mouse islets. PI3K inhibition only slightly attenuated glucose-stimulated insulin secretion from monolayers, but substantially reduced that from pseudoislets and human and mouse islets without suppressing the glucose-induced [Ca(2+)]c response. CONCLUSIONS/INTERPRETATION: We propose that islet architecture is critical for proper beta cell mitochondrial metabolism and IRS-1 signalling, and that PI3K regulates insulin secretion at a step distal to the elevation of [Ca(2+)]c.
Project description:Paracrine interactions between pancreatic islet cells have been proposed as a mechanism to regulate hormone secretion and glucose homeostasis. Here, we demonstrate the importance of proglucagon-derived peptides (PGDPs) for α to β cell communication and control of insulin secretion. Signaling through this system occurs through both the glucagon-like peptide receptor (Glp1r) and glucagon receptor (Gcgr). Loss of PGDPs, or blockade of their receptors, decreases insulin secretion in response to both metabolic and nonmetabolic stimulation of mouse and human islets. This effect is due to reduced β cell cAMP and affects the quantity but not dynamics of insulin release, indicating that PGDPs dictate the magnitude of insulin output in an isolated islet. In healthy mice, additional factors that stimulate cAMP can compensate for loss of PGDP signaling; however, input from α cells is essential to maintain glucose tolerance during the metabolic stress induced by high-fat feeding. These findings demonstrate an essential role for α cell regulation of β cells, raising the possibility that abnormal paracrine signaling contributes to impaired insulin secretion in diabetes. Moreover, these findings support reconsideration of the role for α cells in postprandial glucose control.
Project description:GPR142 is an islet-enriched G protein-coupled receptor that has been investigated as a novel therapeutic target for the treatment of type 2 diabetes by virtue of its insulin secretagogue activity. However, the signaling pathways downstream of GPR142 and whether its stimulation of insulin release is glucose-dependent remain poorly characterized. In this study, we show that both native and synthetic GPR142 agonists can activate Gq as well as Gi signaling when GPR142 is recombinantly expressed in HEK293 cells. However, in primary pancreatic islets, a native cellular system, the insulin secretagogue activity of GPR142 agonists only requires Gq activation. In addition, our results show that stimulation of insulin secretion by GPR142 in pancreatic islets is strictly glucose-dependent.
Project description:The physiologic significance of the nitric oxide (NO)/cGMP signaling pathway in islets is unclear. We hypothesized that cGMP-dependent protein kinase type I (cGKI) is directly involved in the secretion of islet hormones and glucose homeostasis.Gene-targeted mice that lack cGKI in islets (conventional cGKI mutants and cGKI? and I? rescue mice [?/?RM] that express cGKI only in smooth muscle) were studied in comparison to control (CTR) mice. cGKI expression was mapped in the endocrine pancreas by Western blot, immuno-histochemistry, and islet-specific recombination analysis. Insulin, glucagon secretion, and cytosolic Ca²(+) ([Ca²(+)](i)) were assayed by radioimmunoassay and FURA-2 measurements, respectively. Serum levels of islet hormones were analyzed at fasting and upon glucose challenge (2 g/kg) in vivo.Immunohistochemistry showed that cGKI is present in ?- but not in ?-cells in islets of Langerhans. Mice that lack ?-cell cGKI had significantly elevated fasting glucose and glucagon levels, whereas serum insulin levels were unchanged. High glucose concentrations strongly suppressed the glucagon release in CTR mice, but had only a moderate effect on islets that lacked cGKI. 8-Br-cGMP reduced stimulated [Ca²(+)](i) levels and glucagon release rates of CTR islets at 0.5 mmol/l glucose, but was without effect on [Ca²(+)](i) or hormone release in cGKI-deficient islets.We propose that cGKI modulates glucagon release by suppression of [Ca²(+)](i) in ?-cells.
Project description:INTRODUCTION:Islets synthesise and secrete numerous peptides, some of which are known to be important regulators of islet function and glucose homeostasis. In this study, we quantified mRNAs encoding all peptide ligands of islet G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) in isolated human and mouse islets and carried out in vitro islet hormone secretion studies to provide functional confirmation for the species-specific role of peptide YY (PYY) in mouse islets. MATERIALS AND METHODS:GPCR peptide ligand mRNAs in human and mouse islets were quantified by quantitative real-time PCR relative to the reference genes ACTB, GAPDH, PPIA, TBP and TFRC. The pathways connecting GPCR peptide ligands with their receptors were identified by manual searches in the PubMed, IUPHAR and Ingenuity databases. Distribution of PYY protein in mouse and human islets was determined by immunohistochemistry. Insulin, glucagon and somatostatin secretion from islets was measured by radioimmunoassay. RESULTS:We have quantified GPCR peptide ligand mRNA expression in human and mouse islets and created specific signalomes mapping the pathways by which islet peptide ligands regulate human and mouse GPCR signalling. We also identified species-specific islet expression of several GPCR ligands. In particular, PYY mRNA levels were ~ 40,000-fold higher in mouse than human islets, suggesting a more important role of locally secreted Pyy in mouse islets. This was confirmed by IHC and functional experiments measuring insulin, glucagon and somatostatin secretion. DISCUSSION:The detailed human and mouse islet GPCR peptide ligand atlases will allow accurate translation of mouse islet functional studies for the identification of GPCR/peptide signalling pathways relevant for human physiology, which may lead to novel treatment modalities of diabetes and metabolic disease.
Project description:Islet transplantation is a treatment option that can help individuals with type 1 diabetes become insulin independent, but inefficient oxygen and nutrient delivery can hamper islet survival and engraftment due to the size of the islets and loss of the native microvasculature. We hypothesised that size-controlled pseudoislets engineered via centrifugal-forced-aggregation (CFA-PI) in a platform we previously developed would compare favourably with native islets, even after taking into account cell loss during the process.Human islets were dissociated and reaggregated into uniform, size-controlled CFA-PI in our microwell system. Their performance was assessed in vitro and in vivo over a range of sizes, and compared with that of unmodified native islets, as well as islet cell clusters formed by a conventional spontaneous aggregation approach (in which dissociated islet cells are cultured on ultra-low-attachment plates). In vitro studies included assays for membrane integrity, apoptosis, glucose-stimulated insulin secretion assay and total DNA content. In vivo efficacy was determined by transplantation under the kidney capsule of streptozotocin-treated Rag1-/- mice, with non-fasting blood glucose monitoring three times per week and IPGTT at day 60 for glucose response. A recovery nephrectomy, removing the graft, was conducted to confirm efficacy after completing the IPGTT. Architecture and composition were analysed by histological assessment via insulin, glucagon, pancreatic polypeptide, somatostatin, CD31 and von Willebrand factor staining.CFA-PI exhibit markedly increased uniformity over native islets, as well as substantially improved glucose-stimulated insulin secretion (8.8-fold to 11.1-fold, even after taking cell loss into account) and hypoxia tolerance. In vivo, CFA-PI function similarly to (and potentially better than) native islets in reversing hyperglycaemia (55.6% for CFA-PI vs 20.0% for native islets at 500 islet equivalents [IEQ], and 77.8% for CFA-PI vs 55.6% for native islets at 1000 IEQ), and significantly better than spontaneously aggregated control cells (55.6% for CFA-PI vs 0% for spontaneous aggregation at 500 IEQ, and 77.8% CFA-PI vs 33.4% for spontaneous aggregation at 1000 IEQ; p?<?0.05). Glucose clearance in the CFA-PI groups was improved over that in the native islet groups (CFA-PI 18.1 mmol/l vs native islets 29.7 mmol/l at 60 min; p?<?0.05) to the point where they were comparable with the non-transplanted naive normoglycaemic control mice at a low IEQ of 500 IEQ (17.2 mmol/l at 60 min).The ability to efficiently reformat dissociated islet cells into engineered pseudoislets with improved properties has high potential for both research and therapeutic applications.
Project description:The pineal hormone melatonin exerts its influence in the periphery through activation of two specific trans-membrane receptors: MT1 and MT2. Both isoforms are expressed in the islet of Langerhans and are involved in the modulation of insulin secretion from β-cells and in glucagon secretion from α-cells. De-synchrony of receptor signaling may lead to the development of type 2 diabetes. This notion has recently been supported by genome-wide association studies identifying particularly the MT2 as a risk factor for this rapidly spreading metabolic disturbance. Since melatonin is secreted in a clearly diurnal fashion, it is safe to assume that it also has a diurnal impact on the blood-glucose-regulating function of the islet. This factor has hitherto been underestimated; the disruption of diurnal signaling within the islet may be one of the most important mechanisms leading to metabolic disturbances. The study of melatonin-insulin interactions in diabetic rat models has revealed an inverse relationship: an increase in melatonin levels leads to a down-regulation of insulin secretion and vice versa. Elucidation of the possible inverse interrelationship in man may open new avenues in the therapy of diabetes.