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The Role of G Protein-Coupled Receptors and Receptor Kinases in Pancreatic β -Cell Function and Diabetes.

Pharmacological Reviews 2024 Februrary 14
Type 2 diabetes (T2D) mellitus has emerged as a major global health concern that has accelerated in recent years due to poor diet and lifestyle. Afflicted individuals have high blood glucose levels that stem from the inability of the pancreas to make enough insulin to meet demand. Although medication can help to maintain normal blood glucose levels in individuals with chronic disease, many of these medicines are outdated, have severe side effects, and often become less efficacious over time, necessitating the need for insulin therapy. G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) regulate many physiologic processes, including blood glucose levels. In pancreatic β cells, GPCRs regulate β -cell growth, apoptosis, and insulin secretion, which are all critical in maintaining sufficient β -cell mass and insulin output to ensure euglycemia. In recent years, new insights into the signaling of incretin receptors and other GPCRs have underscored the potential of these receptors as desirable targets in the treatment of diabetes. The signaling of these receptors is modulated by GPCR kinases (GRKs) that phosphorylate agonist-activated GPCRs, marking the receptor for arrestin binding and internalization. Interestingly, genome-wide association studies using diabetic patient cohorts link the GRKs and arrestins with T2D. Moreover, recent reports show that GRKs and arrestins expressed in the β cell serve a critical role in the regulation of β -cell function, including β -cell growth and insulin secretion in both GPCR-dependent and -independent pathways. In this review, we describe recent insights into GPCR signaling and the importance of GRK function in modulating β -cell physiology. SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT: Pancreatic β cells contain a diverse array of G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) that have been shown to improve β -cell function and survival, yet only a handful have been successfully targeted in the treatment of diabetes. This review discusses recent advances in our understanding of β -cell GPCR pharmacology and regulation by GPCR kinases while also highlighting the necessity of investigating islet-enriched GPCRs that have largely been unexplored to unveil novel treatment strategies.

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