Incretin-based drugs are widely thought to act via a Gαs/adenylate cyclase (AC)/cAMP pathway in β-cells. This model has been challenged by data demonstrating various glucagon-like peptide 1 receptor (GLP-1R) ligands differentially activate multiple signaling pathways including Gαs, Gq, ERK, and β-arrestins. This ligand-mediated signaling bias implicates an array of intracellular mechanisms that regulate GLP-1R action and raises the possibility GLP-1R agonists can be optimized to enhance insulin secretion. We tested the hypothesis that β-arrestin 1 (βarr1), a critical GPCR effector, is necessary for the full insulinotropic action of GLP-1R agonists. The β-cell βarr1 knockout mice (βarr1βcell-/-) used here have reduced Arrb1 expression in the β-cell, but not α- or Δ-cells; Arrb2 expression was unaffected. Islets isolated from βarr1βcell-/-micehave increased glucose stimulated insulin secretion (GSIS) compared to controls. The enhanced GSIS in the knockout islets was ablated by the GLP-1R antagonist exendin-9. In addition, βarr1βcell-/-islets treated with GLP-1 or exendin 4 (Ex4) have increased insulin release compared to controls. Conversely, βarr1 deletion did not impact the insulinotropic actions of glucagon, which signals through both the GLP-1R and the glucagon receptor (GCGR). Moreover, control and βarr1βcell-/- islets produced similar insulin secretion in response to a GCGR specific agonist that does not signaling through GLP-1R and to glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide. Together, these results indicate that βarr1 in β-cells selectively dampens the insulinotropic actions of the GLP-1R, but not the GCGR or GIP receptor. Thus, there is a specific interaction between the GLP-1R and βarr1 that points to divergent regulation between the insulinotropic class B G-protein coupled receptors in β-cells. This data implies that GLP-1R agonists that bias away from βarr1 may be more effective at stimulating insulin secretion.


J.D. Douros: None. K. Sloop: None. J. Campbell: Research Support; Self; Eli Lilly and Company, Novo Nordisk Inc. Speaker’s Bureau; Self; Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp. D. D’Alessio: Advisory Panel; Self; Eli Lilly and Company. Consultant; Self; Intarcia Therapeutics. Research Support; Self; Ansh Labs, Eli Lilly and Company, Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp. Other Relationship; Self; Novo Nordisk A/S.



Readers may use this article as long as the work is properly cited, the use is educational and not for profit, and the work is not altered. More information is available at