Endocrinology Journal Article

Signaling Pathways Mediating Islet Maturation

December 07, 2020
 

Yu-Chin Lien, Kyoung-Jae Won, Rebecca A Simmons
Endocrinology, Volume 161, Issue 12, December 2020, bqaa187
https://doi.org/10.1210/endocr/bqaa187

Abstract

Pancreatic β-cell dysfunction and reduced insulin secretion play a key role in the pathogenesis of diabetes. Fetal and neonatal islets are functionally immature and have blunted glucose responsiveness and decreased insulin secretion in response to stimuli and are far more proliferative. However, the mechanisms underlying functional immaturity are not well understood. Pancreatic islets are composed of a mixture of different cell types, and the microenvironment of islets and interactions between these cell types are critical for β-cell development and maturation. RNA sequencing and quantitative proteomic data from intact islets isolated from fetal (embryonic day 19) and 2-week-old Sprague-Dawley rats were integrated to compare their gene and protein expression profiles. Ingenuity Pathway Analysis (IPA) was also applied to elucidate pathways and upstream regulators modulating functional maturation of islets. By integrating transcriptome and proteomic data, 917 differentially expressed genes/proteins were identified with a false discovery rate of less than 0.05. A total of 411 and 506 of them were upregulated and downregulated in the 2-week-old islets, respectively. IPA revealed novel critical pathways associated with functional maturation of islets, such as AMPK (adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase) and aryl hydrocarbon receptor signaling, as well as the importance of lipid homeostasis/signaling and neuronal function. Furthermore, we also identified many proteins enriched either in fetal or 2-week-old islets related to extracellular matrix and cell communication, suggesting that these pathways play critical roles in islet maturation. Our present study identified novel pathways for mature islet function in addition to confirming previously reported mechanisms, and provided new mechanistic insights for future research on diabetes prevention and treatment.

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