Glucagon Acting at the GLP-1 Receptor Contributes to β-Cell Regeneration Induced by Glucagon Receptor Antagonism in Diabetic Mice
Dysfunction of glucagon-secreting α-cells participates in the progression of diabetes, and glucagon receptor (GCGR) antagonism is regarded as a novel strategy for diabetes therapy. GCGR antagonism upregulates glucagon and glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) secretion, and notably promotes β-cell regeneration in diabetic mice. Here, we aimed to clarify the role of GLP-1 receptor (GLP-1R) activated by glucagon and/or GLP-1 in the GCGR antagonism-induced β-cell regeneration. We showed that in db/db mice and type 1 diabetic wild-type or Flox/cre mice, GCGR monoclonal antibody (mAb) improved glucose control, upregulated plasma insulin level, and increased β-cell area. Notably, blockage of systemic or pancreatic GLP-1R signaling by exendin 9-39 (Ex9) or Glp1r knockout diminished the above effects of GCGR mAb. Furthermore, glucagon neutralizing antibody (nAb), which prevents activation of GLP-1R by glucagon, also attenuated the GCGR mAb-induced insulinotropic effect and β-cell regeneration. In cultured primary mouse islets isolated from normal mice and db/db mice, GCGR mAb action to increase insulin release, and to upregulate β-cell specific marker expression, was reduced by a glucagon nAb, or by the GLP-1R antagonist Ex9, or by a pancreas-specific Glp1r knockout. These findings suggest that activation of GLP-1R by glucagon participates in β-cell regeneration induced by GCGR antagonism in diabetic mice.