The Arg64 beta(3)-adrenergic receptor (beta(3)AR) variant is associated with an earlier age of onset of diabetes and lower levels of insulin secretion in humans. The aims of this study were to investigate whether beta(3)AR is expressed by islet cells, if receptor binding affects insulin secretion and, finally, if the beta(3)AR Arg64 variant induces abnormal insulin secretory activity. Human pancreas extracts were subjected to RT-PCR, Western blotting and immunostaining analyses. DNA sequencing and Western blotting demonstrated that the beta(3)AR gene is transcribed and translated in the human pancreas; immunostaining showed that it is expressed by the islets of Langerhans. Cultured rat beta-cells responded to human beta(3)AR agonists in a dose- and time-dependent manner. Transfection of cultured rat beta-cells with the wild-type human beta(3)AR produced an increased baseline and ligand-dependent insulin secretion compared with parental cells. On the other hand, cells transfected with the Arg64 variant of the beta(3)AR secreted less insulin, both spontaneously and after exposure to human beta(3)AR agonists. Furthermore, while transfection with the wild-type beta(3)AR preserved the glucose-dependent secretion of insulin, expression of the variant receptor rendered the host cells significantly less responsive to glucose. In summary, cells express the beta(3)AR, and its activation contributes to the regulation of insulin secretion. These findings may help explain the low levels of insulin secretion in response to an i.v. glucose tolerance test observed in humans carrying the Arg64 polymorphism.
If the inline PDF is not rendering correctly, you can download the PDF file here.