Impact of Small-Molecule Glucokinase Activator on Glucose Metabolism and Beta-Cell Mass

Endocrinology. 2009 Mar;150(3):1147-54. doi: 10.1210/en.2008-1183. Epub 2008 Nov 13.


We investigated the effect of glucokinase activator (GKA) on glucose metabolism and beta-cell mass. We analyzed four mouse groups: wild-type mice and beta-cell-specific haploinsufficiency of glucokinase gene (Gck(+/-)) mice on a high-fat (HF) diet. Each genotype was also treated with GKA mixed in the HF diet. Rodent insulinoma cells and isolated islets were used to evaluate beta-cell proliferation by GKA. After 20 wk on the above diets, there were no differences in body weight, lipid profiles, and liver triglyceride content among the four groups. Glucose tolerance was improved shortly after the GKA treatment in both genotypes of mice. beta-Cell mass increased in wild-type mice compared with Gck(+/-) mice, but a further increase was not observed after the administration of GKA in both genotypes. Interestingly, GKA was able to up-regulate insulin receptor substrate-2 (Irs-2) expression in insulinoma cells and isolated islets. The administration of GKA increased 5-bromo-2-deoxyuridine (BrdU) incorporation in insulinoma cells, and 3 d administration of GKA markedly increased BrdU incorporation in mice treated with GKA in both genotypes, compared with those without GKA. In conclusion, GKA was able to chronically improve glucose metabolism for mice on the HF diet. Although chronic GKA administration failed to cause a further increase in beta-cell mass in vivo, GKA was able to increase beta cell proliferation in vitro and with a 3-d administration in vivo. This apparent discrepancy can be explained by a chronic reduction in ambient blood glucose levels by GKA treatment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Body Weight / drug effects
  • Bromodeoxyuridine / pharmacokinetics
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Diet, Atherogenic
  • Dietary Fats / pharmacology
  • Drug Evaluation, Preclinical
  • Enzyme Activation / drug effects
  • Enzyme Activation / physiology
  • Glucokinase / genetics
  • Glucokinase / metabolism*
  • Glucose / metabolism*
  • Glucose Intolerance / drug therapy
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Insulin / metabolism
  • Insulin Receptor Substrate Proteins / genetics
  • Insulin Receptor Substrate Proteins / metabolism
  • Insulin Secretion
  • Insulin-Secreting Cells / cytology*
  • Insulin-Secreting Cells / drug effects
  • Insulin-Secreting Cells / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Organ Size / drug effects


  • Dietary Fats
  • Hypoglycemic Agents
  • Insulin
  • Insulin Receptor Substrate Proteins
  • Irs2 protein, rat
  • Glucokinase
  • Bromodeoxyuridine
  • Glucose