A Drive Along the Metabolic Information Highway

Science Signaling  25 Nov 2008:
Vol. 1, Issue 47, pp. ec405
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.147ec405

Metabolic regulation in mammals requires communication between multiple organs and tissues. Studying mouse models, Imai et al. found that obesity stimulates pancreatic β cell proliferation through a neural-mediated relay of metabolic signals from the liver to the pancreas. Obesity-induced activation of extracellular regulated kinase (ERK) signaling in the liver was identified as a key component of this metabolic relay. In mouse models of insulin-deficient (type 1) diabetes, liver-specific activation of ERK signaling resulted in an increase in β cell mass and normalization of serum glucose levels. Thus, interorgan metabolic communication systems may serve as valuable therapeutic targets for diabetes.

J. Imai, H. Katagiri, T. Yamada, Y. Ishigaki, T. Suzuki, H. Kudo, K. Uno, Y. Hasegawa, J. Gao, K. Kaneko, H. Ishihara, A. Niijima, M. Nakazato, T. Asano, Y. Minokoshi, Y. Oka, Regulation of pancreatic β cell mass by neuronal signals from the liver. Science 322, 1250–1254 (2008). [Abstract] [Full Text]