Long-chain fatty acids (LCFAs) are not only energy sources but also serve as signaling molecules. GPR120, an LCFA receptor, plays key roles in maintaining metabolic homeostasis. However, whether endogenous ligand-GPR120 circuits exist and how such circuits function in pancreatic islets are unclear. Here, we found that endogenous GPR120 activity in pancreatic δ-cells modulated islet functions. At least two unsaturated LCFAs, oleic acid (OA) and linoleic acid (LA), were identified as GPR120 agonists within pancreatic islets. These two LCFAs promoted insulin secretion by inhibiting somatostatin secretion and showed bias activation of GPR120 in a model system. Compared with OA, LA exerted higher potency in promoting insulin secretion, which is dependent on β-arrestin2 function. Moreover, GPR120 signaling was impaired in the diabetic db/db model, and replenishing OA and LA improved islet function in both the db/db and streptozotocin-treated diabetic models. Consistently, the administration of LA improved glucose metabolism in db/db mice. Collectively, our results reveal that endogenous LCFA-GPR120 circuits exist and modulate homeostasis in pancreatic islets. The contributions of phenotype differences caused by different LCFA-GPR120 circuits within islets highlight the roles of fine-tuned ligand–receptor signaling networks in maintaining islet homeostasis.

Y.-Q.D., X.-Y.S, J.C., and J.W. contributed equally to this work.

This article contains supplementary material online at https://doi.org/10.2337/figshare.19566082.

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