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Adenosine signaling promotes regeneration of pancreatic β cells in vivo.

Cell metabolism | Jun 6, 2012

Diabetes can be controlled with insulin injections, but a curative approach that restores the number of insulin-producing β cells is still needed. Using a zebrafish model of diabetes, we screened ~7,000 small molecules to identify enhancers of β cell regeneration. The compounds we identified converge on the adenosine signaling pathway and include exogenous agonists and compounds that inhibit degradation of endogenously produced adenosine. The most potent enhancer of β cell regeneration was the adenosine agonist 5'-N-ethylcarboxamidoadenosine (NECA), which, acting through the adenosine receptor A2aa, increased β cell proliferation and accelerated restoration of normoglycemia in zebrafish. Despite markedly stimulating β cell proliferation during regeneration, NECA had only a modest effect during development. The proliferative and glucose-lowering effect of NECA was confirmed in diabetic mice, suggesting an evolutionarily conserved role for adenosine in β cell regeneration. With this whole-organism screen, we identified components of the adenosine pathway that could be therapeutically targeted for the treatment of diabetes.

Pubmed ID: 22608007 RIS Download

Mesh terms: Adenosine | Adenosine-5'-(N-ethylcarboxamide) | Animals | Blood Glucose | Cell Proliferation | Cell Survival | Diabetes Mellitus, Experimental | Drug Evaluation, Preclinical | Insulin-Secreting Cells | Larva | Mice | Pancreas | Purinergic P1 Receptor Agonists | Receptor, Adenosine A2A | Regeneration | Zebrafish | Zebrafish Proteins

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Associated grants

  • Agency: NIDDK NIH HHS, Id: U01 DK089541
  • Agency: NIDDK NIH HHS, Id: U01DK089541
  • Agency: NIDDK NIH HHS, Id: T32 DK007418
  • Agency: NIDDK NIH HHS, Id: R01 DK075032
  • Agency: NIDDK NIH HHS, Id: R01DK075032

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