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Functional characterization of Wnt proteins in mouse and human islets: roles in beta cell mass expansion and insulin secretion during type 2 diabetes mellitus.

Grant number: 23/11004-9
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Support Program for Fixating Young Doctors
Effective date (Start): September 01, 2023
Effective date (End): August 31, 2024
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Morphology - Histology
Acordo de Cooperação: CNPq
Principal Investigator:Helena Cristina de Lima Barbosa
Grantee:Daniela Aparecida Maschio
Host Institution: Instituto de Biologia (IB). Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Campinas , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:23/01572-0 - Functional characterization of Wnt proteins in mouse and human islets: roles in beta cell mass expansion and insulin secretion during type 2 Diabetes Mellitus, AP.R


Decreased beta cell mass and secretory dysfunction are the main determinants of the pathogenesis of type 2diabetes (T2D). Thus, improved understanding of the mechanisms regulating beta cell mass and secretoryfunction will underpin strategies for maintaining appropriate blood glucose regulation and the development ofnovel therapies for T2D. In this context, the Wnt family proteins are of particular interest, we have shown that:1) analysis of gene expression of 19 mammalian Wnt subtypes in human and mouse pancreas indicated the vastmajority of Wnt proteins are expressed in the islets; 2) Wnts 3a and 5b gene expression is significantly increasedin hyperplastic islets from prediabetic mice relative to non-hyperplastic islets from normal mice; 3) Wnts proteinssecreted by hyperplastic or non-hyperplastic islets induce a significant increase in MIN6 beta-cell proliferation;and 4) Frizzled receptors (Fz4 e Fz9), the targets of Wnt proteins, show altered expression in human hyperplasticislets obtained from obese non-diabetic donors. These important observations support this research projectproposal, which aims to establish the role of Wnts proteins and the signaling pathways used by these proteins inthe islets, with the main objectives: 1) the quantification of the 19 Wnt mRNAs and key members of Wntsignaling in islets from mice and humans during T2D, compared to islets from normal mice and humans,respectively; 2) the identification of which cellular types of the islet that express/secrete Wnts; 3)characterization of the effects of Wnt proteins in the regulation of beta cell mass and insulin secretion in isletsisolated from humans and mice in vitro conditions; and 4) the identification which signaling pathways are used byWnt proteins in islet cells. The results obtained will be instrumental in defining the role of Wnts in optimizing betacell function and which may be used in therapies for T2D.

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