Ben-Zvi D, Barrandon O, Hadley S, Blum B, Peterson QP, Melton DA. 2015. Angptl4 links α-cell proliferation following glucagon receptor inhibition with adipose tissue triglyceride metabolism. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 112(50):15498-503. Pubmed: 26621734 DOI:10.1073/pnas.1513872112


Type 2 diabetes is characterized by a reduction in insulin function and an increase in glucagon activity that together result in hyperglycemia. Glucagon receptor antagonists have been developed as drugs for diabetes; however, they often increase glucagon plasma levels and induce the proliferation of glucagon-secreting α-cells. We find that the secreted protein Angiopoietin-like 4 (Angptl4) is up-regulated via Pparγ activation in white adipose tissue and plasma following an acute treatment with a glucagon receptor antagonist. Induction of adipose angptl4 and Angptl4 supplementation promote α-cell proliferation specifically. Finally, glucagon receptor antagonist improves glycemia in diet-induced obese angptl4 knockout mice without increasing glucagon levels or α-cell proliferation, underscoring the importance of this protein. Overall, we demonstrate that triglyceride metabolism in adipose tissue regulates α-cells in the endocrine pancreas.

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Doug Melton is pursuing a cure for type 1 diabetes. His lab studies the developmental biology of the pancreas, using that information to grow and develop pancreatic cells (islets of Langerhans). In parallel, they investigate ways to protect beta cells from autoimmune attack.

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