skip to main content


The NSF Public Access Repository (NSF-PAR) system and access will be unavailable from 11:00 PM ET on Friday, July 12 until 9:00 AM ET on Saturday, July 13 due to maintenance. We apologize for the inconvenience.

Title: Postnatal β2 adrenergic treatment improves insulin sensitivity in lambs with IUGR but not persistent defects in pancreatic islets or skeletal muscle
Key points

Previous studies in fetuses with intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) have shown that adrenergic dysregulation was associated with low insulin concentrations and greater insulin sensitivity.

Although whole‐body glucose clearance is normal, 1‐month‐old lambs with IUGR at birth have higher rates of hindlimb glucose uptake, which may compensate for myocyte deficiencies in glucose oxidation.

Impaired glucose‐stimulated insulin secretion in IUGR lambs is due to lower intra‐islet insulin availability and not from glucose sensing.

We investigated adrenergic receptor (ADR) β2 desensitization by administering oral ADRβ modifiers for the first month after birth to activate ADRβ2 and antagonize ADRβ1/3. In IUGR lambs ADRβ2 activation increased whole‐body glucose utilization rates and insulin sensitivity but had no effect on isolated islet or myocyte deficiencies.

IUGR establishes risk for developing diabetes. In IUGR lambs we identified disparities in key aspects of glucose‐stimulated insulin secretion and insulin‐stimulated glucose oxidation, providing new insights into potential mechanisms for this risk.


Placental insufficiency causes intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) and disturbances in glucose homeostasis with associated β adrenergic receptor (ADRβ) desensitization. Our objectives were to measure insulin‐sensitive glucose metabolism in neonatal lambs with IUGR and to determine whether daily treatment with ADRβ2 agonist and ADRβ1/β3 antagonists for 1 month normalizes their glucose metabolism. Growth, glucose‐stimulated insulin secretion (GSIS) and glucose utilization rates (GURs) were measured in control lambs, IUGR lambs and IUGR lambs treated with adrenergic receptor modifiers: clenbuterol atenolol and SR59230A (IUGR‐AR). In IUGR lambs, islet insulin content and GSIS were less than in controls; however, insulin sensitivity and whole‐body GUR were not different from controls. Of importance, ADRβ2 stimulation with β1/β3 inhibition increases both insulin sensitivity and whole‐body glucose utilization in IUGR lambs. In IUGR and IUGR‐AR lambs, hindlimb GURs were greater but fractional glucose oxidation rates andex vivoskeletal muscle glucose oxidation rates were lower than controls. Glucose transporter 4 (GLUT4) was lower in IUGR and IUGR‐AR skeletal muscle than in controls but GLUT1 was greater in IUGR‐AR. ADRβ2, insulin receptor, glycogen content and citrate synthase activity were similar among groups. In IUGR and IUGR‐AR lambs heart rates were greater, which was independent of cardiac ADRβ1 activation. We conclude that targeted ADRβ2 stimulation improved whole‐body insulin sensitivity but minimally affected defects in GSIS and skeletal muscle glucose oxidation. We show that risk factors for developing diabetes are independent of postnatal catch‐up growth in IUGR lambs as early as 1 month of age and are inherent to the islets and myocytes.

more » « less
Author(s) / Creator(s):
 ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  
Publisher / Repository:
Date Published:
Journal Name:
The Journal of Physiology
Page Range / eLocation ID:
p. 5835-5858
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Abstract

    In vitro differentiation of human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) into functional islets holds immense potential to create an unlimited source of islets for diabetes research and treatment. A continuous challenge in this field is to generate glucose-responsive mature islets. We herein report a previously undiscovered angiopoietin signal for in vitro islet development. We revealed, for the first time, that angiopoietins, including angiopoietin-1 (Ang1) and angiopoietin-2 (Ang2) permit the generation of islets from iPSCs with elevated glucose responsiveness, a hallmark of mature islets. Angiopoietin-stimulated islets exhibited glucose synchronized calcium ion influx in repetitive glucose challenges. Moreover, Ang2 augmented the expression of all islet hormones, including insulin, glucagon, somatostatin, and pancreatic polypeptide; and β cell transcription factors, including NKX6.1, MAFA, UCN3, and PDX1. Furthermore, we showed that the Ang2 stimulated islets were able to regulate insulin exocytosis through actin-filament polymerization and depolymerization upon glucose challenge, presumably through the CDC42-RAC1-gelsolin mediated insulin secretion signaling pathway. We also discovered the formation of endothelium within the islets under Ang2 stimulation. These results strongly suggest that angiopoietin acts as a signaling molecule to endorse in vitro islet development from iPSCs.

    more » « less
  2. Introduction Blood sugar homeostasis relies largely on the action of pancreatic islet hormones, particularly insulin and glucagon. In a prototypical fashion, glucagon is released upon hypoglycemia to elevate glucose by acting on the liver while elevated glucose induces the secretion of insulin which leads to sugar uptake by peripheral tissues. This simplified view of glucagon and insulin does not consider the paracrine roles of the two hormones modulating the response to glucose of α- and β-cells. In particular, glucose-stimulated glucagon secretion by isolated α-cells exhibits a Hill-function pattern, while experiments with intact pancreatic islets suggest a ‘U’-shaped response. Methods To this end, a framework was developed based on first principles and coupled to experimental studies capturing the glucose-induced response of pancreatic α- and β-cells influenced by the two hormones. The model predicts both the transient and steady-state profiles of secreted insulin and glucagon, including the typical biphasic response of normal β-cells to hyperglycemia. Results and discussion The results underscore insulin activity as a differentiating factor of the glucagon secretion from whole islets vs . isolated α-cells, and highlight the importance of experimental conditions in interpreting the behavior of islet cells in vitro . The model also reproduces the hyperglucagonemia, which is experienced by diabetes patients, and it is linked to a failure of insulin to inhibit α-cell activity. The framework described here is amenable to the inclusion of additional islet cell types and extrapancreatic tissue cells simulating multi-organ systems. The study expands our understanding of the interplay of insulin and glucagon for pancreas function in normal and pathological conditions. 
    more » « less
  3. Key points

    Pregnancy increases sympathetic nerve activity (SNA), although the mechanisms responsible for this remain unknown. We tested whether insulin or leptin, two sympathoexcitatory hormones increased during pregnancy, contribute to this.

    Transport of insulin across the blood–brain barrier in some brain regions, and into the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), was increased, although brain insulin degradation was also increased. As a result, brain and CSF insulin levels were not different between pregnant and non‐pregnant rats.

    The sympathoexcitatory responses to insulin and leptin were abolished in pregnant rats.

    Blockade of arcuate nucleus insulin receptors did not lower SNA in pregnant or non‐pregnant rats.

    Collectively, these data suggest that pregnancy renders the brain resistant to the sympathoexcitatory effects of insulin and leptin, and that these hormones do not mediate pregnancy‐induced sympathoexcitation. Increased muscle SNA stimulates glucose uptake. Therefore, during pregnancy, peripheral insulin resistance coupled with blunted insulin‐ and leptin‐induced sympathoexcitation ensures adequate delivery of glucose to the fetus.


    Pregnancy increases basal sympathetic nerve activity (SNA), although the mechanism responsible for this remains unknown. Insulin and leptin are two sympathoexcitatory hormones that increase during pregnancy, yet, pregnancy impairs central insulin‐ and leptin‐induced signalling. Therefore, to test whether insulin or leptin contribute to basal sympathoexcitation or, instead, whether pregnancy induces resistance to the sympathoexcitatory effects of insulin and leptin, we investigated α‐chloralose anaesthetized late pregnant rats, which exhibited increases in lumbar SNA (LSNA), splanchnic SNA and heart rate (HR) compared to non‐pregnant animals. In pregnant rats, transport of insulin into cerebrospinal fluid and across the blood–brain barrier in some brain regions increased, although brain insulin degradation was also increased; brain and cerebrospinal fluid insulin levels were not different between pregnant and non‐pregnant rats. Althoughi.c.v.insulin increased LSNA and HR and baroreflex control of LSNA and HR in non‐pregnant rats, these effects were abolished in pregnant rats. In parallel, pregnancy completely prevented the actions of leptin with respect to increasing lumbar, splanchnic and renal SNA, as well as baroreflex control of SNA. Blockade of insulin receptors (with S961) in the arcuate nucleus, the site of action of insulin, did not decrease LSNA in pregnant rats, despite blocking the effects of exogenous insulin. Thus, pregnancy is associated with central resistance to insulin and leptin, and these hormones are not responsible for the increased basal SNA of pregnancy. Because increases in LSNA to skeletal muscle stimulates glucose uptake, blunted insulin‐ and leptin‐induced sympathoexcitation reinforces systemic insulin resistance, thereby increasing the delivery of glucose to the fetus.

    more » « less
  4. Abstract Pancreatic islet transplantation can cure diabetes but requires accessible, high-quality islets in sufficient quantities. Cryopreservation could solve islet supply chain challenges by enabling quality-controlled banking and pooling of donor islets. Unfortunately, cryopreservation has not succeeded in this objective, as it must simultaneously provide high recovery, viability, function and scalability. Here, we achieve this goal in mouse, porcine, human and human stem cell (SC)-derived beta cell (SC-beta) islets by comprehensive optimization of cryoprotectant agent (CPA) composition, CPA loading and unloading conditions and methods for vitrification and rewarming (VR). Post-VR islet viability, relative to control, was 90.5% for mouse, 92.1% for SC-beta, 87.2% for porcine and 87.4% for human islets, and it remained unchanged for at least 9 months of cryogenic storage. VR islets had normal macroscopic, microscopic, and ultrastructural morphology. Mitochondrial membrane potential and adenosine triphosphate (ATP) levels were slightly reduced, but all other measures of cellular respiration, including oxygen consumption rate (OCR) to produce ATP, were unchanged. VR islets had normal glucose-stimulated insulin secretion (GSIS) function in vitro and in vivo. Porcine and SC-beta islets made insulin in xenotransplant models, and mouse islets tested in a marginal mass syngeneic transplant model cured diabetes in 92% of recipients within 24–48 h after transplant. Excellent glycemic control was seen for 150 days. Finally, our approach processed 2,500 islets with >95% islets recovery at >89% post-thaw viability and can readily be scaled up for higher throughput. These results suggest that cryopreservation can now be used to supply needed islets for improved transplantation outcomes that cure diabetes. 
    more » « less
  5. Inflammation and oxidative stress in pancreatic islets amplify the appearance of various posttranslational modifications to self-proteins. In this study, we identified a select group of carbonylated islet proteins arising before the onset of hyperglycemia in NOD mice. Of interest, we identified carbonyl modification of the prolyl-4-hydroxylase β subunit (P4Hb) that is responsible for proinsulin folding and trafficking as an autoantigen in both human and murine type 1 diabetes. We found that carbonylated P4Hb is amplified in stressed islets coincident with decreased glucose-stimulated insulin secretion and altered proinsulin-to-insulin ratios. Autoantibodies against P4Hb were detected in prediabetic NOD mice and in early human type 1 diabetes prior to the onset of anti-insulin autoimmunity. Moreover, we identify autoreactive CD4+ T-cell responses toward carbonyl-P4Hb epitopes in the circulation of patients with type 1 diabetes. Our studies provide mechanistic insight into the pathways of proinsulin metabolism and in creating autoantigenic forms of insulin in type 1 diabetes. 
    more » « less