Diabetes 2012 Mar 7;61(3):692-701. Epub 2012 Feb 7.
Department of Clinical Medicine, Cardiovascular & Immunologic Sciences, Federico II University of Naples, Naples, Italy.
In this study, we investigated the significance of β(2)-adrenergic receptor (β(2)AR) in age-related impaired insulin secretion and glucose homeostasis. We characterized the metabolic phenotype of β(2)AR-null C57Bl/6N mice (β(2)AR(-/-)) by performing in vivo and ex vivo experiments. In vitro assays in cultured INS-1E β-cells were carried out in order to clarify the mechanism by which β(2)AR deficiency affects glucose metabolism. Adult β(2)AR(-/-) mice featured glucose intolerance, and pancreatic islets isolated from these animals displayed impaired glucose-induced insulin release, accompanied by reduced expression of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR)γ, pancreatic duodenal homeobox-1 (PDX-1), and GLUT2. Adenovirus-mediated gene transfer of human β(2)AR rescued these defects. Consistent effects were evoked in vitro both upon β(2)AR knockdown and pharmacologic treatment. Interestingly, with aging, wild-type (β(2)AR(+/+)) littermates developed impaired insulin secretion and glucose tolerance. Moreover, islets from 20-month-old β(2)AR(+/+) mice exhibited reduced density of β(2)AR compared with those from younger animals, paralleled by decreased levels of PPARγ, PDX-1, and GLUT2. Overexpression of β(2)AR in aged mice rescued glucose intolerance and insulin release both in vivo and ex vivo, restoring PPARγ/PDX-1/GLUT2 levels. Our data indicate that reduced β(2)AR expression contributes to the age-related decline of glucose tolerance in mice.