Glucagon-like peptitle-1 regulates proliferation and apoptosis via activation of protein kinase B in pancreatic INS-1 beta cells

Q. Wang, L. Li, E. Xu, V. Wong, C. Rhodes, P. L. Brubaker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

173 Scopus citations


Aims/hypothesis. The incretin hormone glucagon-like peptide-1 augments islet cell mass in vivo by increasing proliferation and decreasing apoptosis of the beta cells. However, the signalling pathways that mediate these effects are mostly unknown. Using a clonal rat pancreatic beta cell line (INS-1), we examined the role of protein kinase B in mediating beta-cell growth and survival stimulated by glucagon-like peptide-1. Methods. Immunoblot analysis was used to detect active (phospho-) and total protein kinase B. Proliferation was assessed using 3H-thymidine incorporation, while apoptosis was quantitated using 4́-6-diamidino-2-phenylindole staining and APO percentage apoptosis assay. Kinase-dead and wild-type protein kinase B was introduced into cells using adenoviral vectors. Results. Glucagon-like peptide-1 rapidly activated protein kinase B in INS-1 cells (by 2.7±0.7-fold, p<0.05). This effect was completely abrogated by inhibition, with wortmannin, of the upstream activator of protein kinase B, phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase. Glucagon-like peptide-1 also stimulated INS-1 cell proliferation in a dose-dependent manner (by 1.8±0.5-fold at 10-7 mol/l, p<0.01), and inhibited staurosporine-induced apoptosis (by 69±12%, p<0.05). Both of these effects were also prevented by wortmannin treatment. Ablation of protein kinase B by adenovirus-mediated overexpression of the kinase-dead form of protein kinase Bα prevented protein kinase B phosphorylation and completely abrogated both cellular proliferation (p<0.05) and protection from drug-induced cellular death (p<0.01) induced by glucagon-like peptide-1. Conclusions/interpretation. These results identify protein kinase B as an essential mediator linking the glucagon-like peptide-1 signal to the intracellular machinery that modulates beta-cell growth and survival.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)478-487
Number of pages10
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Apoptosis
  • Beta cell
  • Glucagon-like peptide-1
  • Growth
  • Islet cell mass
  • Proliferation
  • Protein kinase B


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