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In Pancreatic Islets from Type 2 Diabetes Patients, the Dampened Circadian Oscillators Lead to Reduced Insulin and Glucagon Exocytosis

V. Petrenko, N.R. Gandasi, D. Sage, A. Tengholm, S. Barg, C. Dibner

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, in press.

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Circadian clocks operative in pancreatic islets participate in the regulation of insulin secretion in humans and, if compromised, in the development of type 2 diabetes (T2D) in rodents. Here we demonstrate that human islet α- and β-cells that bear attenuated clocks exhibit strongly disrupted insulin and glucagon granule docking and exocytosis. To examine whether compromised clocks play a role in the pathogenesis of T2D in humans, we quantified parameters of molecular clocks operative in human T2D islets at population, single islet, and single islet cell levels. Strikingly, our experiments reveal that islets from T2D patients contain clocks with diminished circadian amplitudes and reduced in vitro synchronization capacity compared to their nondiabetic counterparts. Moreover, our data suggest that islet clocks orchestrate temporal profiles of insulin and glucagon secretion in a physiological context. This regulation was disrupted in T2D subjects, implying a role for the islet cell-autonomous clocks in T2D progression. Finally, Nobiletin, an agonist of the core-clock proteins RORα/γ, boosted both circadian amplitude of T2D islet clocks and insulin secretion by these islets. Our study emphasizes a link between the circadian clockwork and T2D and proposes that clock modulators hold promise as putative therapeutic agents for this frequent disorder.

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