Objective: Inducing human β-cell growth while enhancing function is a major goal in the treatment of diabetes. Parathyroid hormone-related protein (PTHrP) enhances rodent β-cell growth and function through the parathyroid hormone-1 receptor (PTH1R). Based on this, we hypothesized that PTH1R is expressed in human β-cells and that PTHrP has the potential to enhance human β-cell proliferation and/or function.
Research design and methods: PTH1R expression, β-cell proliferation, glucose-stimulated insulin secretion (GSIS), and expression of differentiation and cell-cycle genes were analyzed in human islets transduced with adenoviral PTHrP constructs or treated with PTHrP peptides. The effect of overexpression of late G1/S cell cycle molecules was also assessed on human β-cell proliferation.
Results: We found that human β-cells express PTH1R. More importantly, overexpression of PTHrP causes a significant approximately threefold increase in human β-cell proliferation. Furthermore, the amino terminus PTHrP(1-36) peptide is sufficient to increase replication as well as expression of the late G1/S cell-cycle proteins cyclin E and cyclin-dependent kinase 2 (cdk2) in human islets. Notably, PTHrP(1-36) also enhances GSIS. Finally, overexpression of cyclin E alone, but not cdk2, augments human β-cell proliferation, and when both molecules are expressed simultaneously there is a further marked synergistic increase in replication.
Conclusions: PTHrP(1-36) peptide enhances human β-cell proliferation as well as function, with associated upregulation of two specific cell-cycle activators that together can induce human β-cell proliferation several fold. The future therapeutic potential of PTHrP(1-36) for the treatment of diabetes is especially relevant given the complementary therapeutic efficacy of PTHrP(1-36) in postmenopausal osteoporosis.