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Glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor (GLP1R) and glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide receptor (GIPR) are transmembrane receptors involved in insulin, glucagon and somatostatin secretion from the pancreatic islet. Therapeutic targeting of GLP1R and GIPR restores blood glucose levels in part by influencing beta cell, alpha cell and delta cell function. Despite the importance of the incretin-mimetics for diabetes therapy, our understanding of GLP1R and GIPR expression patterns and signaling within the islet remain incomplete. Here, we present the evidence for GLP1R and GIPR expression in the major islet cell types, before addressing signaling pathway(s) engaged, as well as their influence on cell survival and function. While GLP1R is largely a beta cell-specific marker within the islet, GIPR is expressed in alpha cells, beta cells, and (possibly) delta cells. GLP1R and GIPR engage Gs-coupled pathways in most settings, although the exact outcome on hormone release depends on paracrine communication and promiscuous signaling. Biased agonism away from beta-arrestin is an emerging concept for improving therapeutic efficacy, and is also relevant for GLP1R/GIPR dual agonism. Lastly, dual agonists exert multiple effects on islet function through GIPR > GLP1R imbalance, increased GLP1R surface expression and cAMP signaling, as well as beneficial alpha cell-beta cell-delta cell crosstalk.

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Journal article



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Alpha cell, Beta cell, Delta cell, GIPR, GLP1R, Glucagon, Insulin, Islet, Somatostatin