Isoprenoid Derivatives of Lysophosphatidylcholines Enhance Insulin and GLP-1 Secretion through Lipid-Binding GPCRs

Int J Mol Sci. 2021 May 27;22(11):5748. doi: 10.3390/ijms22115748.


Insulin plays a significant role in carbohydrate homeostasis as the blood glucose lowering hormone. Glucose-induced insulin secretion (GSIS) is augmented by glucagon-like peptide (GLP-1), a gastrointestinal peptide released in response to ingesting nutriments. The secretion of insulin and GLP-1 is mediated by the binding of nutrients to G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) expressed by pancreatic β-cells and enteroendocrine cells, respectively. Therefore, insulin secretagogues and incretin mimetics currently serve as antidiabetic treatments. This study demonstrates the potency of synthetic isoprenoid derivatives of lysophosphatidylcholines (LPCs) to stimulate GSIS and GLP-1 release. Murine insulinoma cell line (MIN6) and enteroendocrinal L cells (GLUTag) were incubated with LPCs bearing geranic acid (1-GA-LPC), citronellic acid (1-CA-LPC), 3,7-dimethyl-3-vinyloct-6-enoic acid (GERA-LPC), and (E)-3,7,11-trimethyl- 3-vinyldodeca-6,10-dienoic acid (1-FARA-LPC). Respective free terpene acids were also tested for comparison. Besides their insulin- and GLP-1-secreting capabilities, we also investigated the cytotoxicity of tested compounds, the ability to intracellular calcium ion mobilization, and targeted GPCRs involved in maintaining lipid and carbohydrate homeostasis. We observed the high cytotoxicity of 1-GERA-LPC and 1-FARA-LPC in contrast 1-CA-LPC and 1-GA-LPC. Moreover, 1-CA-LPC and 1-GA-LPC demonstrated the stimulatory effect on GSIS and 1-CA-LPC augmented GLP-1 secretion. Insulin and GLP-1 release appeared to be GPR40-, GPR55-, GPR119- and GPR120-dependent.

Keywords: GLP-1; GPR119; GPR120; GPR40; GPR55; diabetes; insulin; isoprenoids; lysophosphatidylcholine.

MeSH terms

  • Calcium / metabolism
  • Glucagon-Like Peptide 1 / biosynthesis*
  • Humans
  • Insulin / biosynthesis*
  • Insulin Secretion / drug effects*
  • Intracellular Space / metabolism
  • Lipid Metabolism / drug effects*
  • Lysophosphatidylcholines / chemistry
  • Lysophosphatidylcholines / pharmacology*
  • Molecular Structure
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled / metabolism*
  • Terpenes / chemistry
  • Terpenes / pharmacology*


  • Insulin
  • Lysophosphatidylcholines
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled
  • Terpenes
  • Glucagon-Like Peptide 1
  • Calcium