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AIM: Our study aims to identify novel non-coding RNA-mRNA regulatory networks associated with β-cell dysfunction and compensatory responses in obesity-related diabetes. METHODS: Glucose metabolism, islet architecture and secretion, and insulin sensitivity were characterized in C57BL/6J mice fed on a 60% high-fat diet (HFD) or control for 24 weeks. Islets were isolated for whole transcriptome sequencing to identify differentially expressed (DE) mRNAs, miRNAs, IncRNAs, and circRNAs. Regulatory networks involving miRNA-mRNA, lncRNA-mRNA, and lncRNA-miRNA-mRNA were constructed and functions were assessed through Gene Ontology (GO) and Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) enrichment analyses. RESULTS: Despite compensatory hyperinsulinemia and a significant increase in β-cell mass with a slow rate of proliferation, HFD mice exhibited impaired glucose tolerance. In isolated islets, insulin secretion in response to glucose and palmitic acid deteriorated after 24 weeks of HFD. Whole transcriptomic sequencing identified a total of 1324 DE mRNAs, 14 DE miRNAs, 179 DE lncRNAs, and 680 DE circRNAs. Our transcriptomic dataset unveiled several core regulatory axes involved in the impaired insulin secretion in HFD mice, such as miR-6948-5p/Cacna1c, miR-6964-3p/Cacna1b, miR-3572-5p/Hk2, miR-3572-5p/Cckar and miR-677-5p/Camk2d. Additionally, proliferative and apoptotic targets, including miR-216a-3p/FKBP5, miR-670-3p/Foxo3, miR-677-5p/RIPK1, miR-802-3p/Smad2 and ENSMUST00000176781/Caspase9 possibly contribute to the increased β-cell mass in HFD islets. Furthermore, competing endogenous RNAs (ceRNA) regulatory network involving 7 DE miRNAs, 15 DE lncRNAs and 38 DE mRNAs might also participate in the development of HFD-induced diabetes. CONCLUSIONS: The comprehensive whole transcriptomic sequencing revealed novel non-coding RNA-mRNA regulatory networks associated with impaired insulin secretion and increased β-cell mass in obesity-related diabetes.

Original publication




Journal article


PLoS One

Publication Date





Mice, Animals, RNA, Long Noncoding, Diet, High-Fat, RNA, Circular, Insulin Secretion, Exome Sequencing, Mice, Inbred C57BL, MicroRNAs, RNA, Messenger, Diabetes Mellitus, Obesity, Gene Regulatory Networks, Calcium Channels, N-Type