FFAR3 modulates insulin secretion and global gene expression in mouse islets

Islets. 2015;7(2):e1045182. doi: 10.1080/19382014.2015.1045182. Epub 2015 Jun 19.


The short chain fatty acid (SCFA) receptor (free fatty acid receptor-3; FFAR3) is expressed in pancreatic β cells; however, its role in insulin secretion is not clearly defined. Here, we examined the role of FFAR3 in insulin secretion. Using islets from global knockout FFAR3 (Ffar3(-/-)) mice, we explored the role of FFAR3 and ligand-induced FFAR3 signaling on glucose stimulated insulin secretion. RNA sequencing was also performed to gain greater insight into the impact of FFAR3 deletion on the islet transcriptome. First exploring insulin secretion, it was determined that Ffar3(-/-) islets secrete more insulin in a glucose-dependent manner as compared to wildtype (WT) islets. Next, exploring its primary endogenous ligand, propionate, and a specific agonist for FFAR3, signaling by FFAR3 inhibited glucose-dependent insulin secretion, which occurred through a Gαi/o pathway. To help understand these results, transcriptome analyses by RNA-sequencing of Ffar3(-/-) and WT islets observed multiple genes with well-known roles in islet biology to be altered by genetic knockout of FFAR3. Our data shows that FFAR3 signaling mediates glucose stimulated insulin secretion through Gαi/o sensitive pathway. Future studies are needed to more rigorously define the role of FFAR3 by in vivo approaches.

Keywords: FFAR2; FFAR3; insulin secretion; islets.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Gene Expression / physiology
  • Insulin / metabolism*
  • Insulin Secretion
  • Insulin-Secreting Cells / metabolism*
  • Insulin-Secreting Cells / physiology
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled / physiology*
  • Signal Transduction / physiology
  • Transcriptome / physiology


  • FFAR3 protein, mouse
  • Insulin
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled