FXR controls insulin content by regulating Foxa2-mediated insulin transcription


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Farnesoid X receptor (FXR) is a nuclear ligand-activated receptor of bile acids that plays a role in the modulation of insulin content. However, the underlying molecular mechanisms remain unclear. Forkhead box a2 (Foxa2) is an important nuclear transcription factor in pancreatic beta-cells and is involved in beta-cell function. We aimed to explore the signaling mechanism downstream of FXR to regulate insulin content and underscore its association with Foxa2 and insulin gene (Ins) transcription. All experiments were conducted on FXR transgenic mice, INS-1 823/13 cells, and diabetic Goto-Kakizaki (GK) rats undergoing sham or Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB) surgery. Islets from FXR knockout mice and INS-1823/13 cells with FXR knockdown exhibited substantially lower insulin levels than that of controls. This was accompanied by decreased Foxa2 expression and Ins transcription. Conversely, FXR overexpression increased insulin content, concomitant with enhanced Foxa2 expression and Ins transcription in INS-1 823/13 cells. Moreover, FXR knockdown reduced FXR recruitment and H3K27 trimethylation in the Foxa2 promoter. Importantly, Foxa2 overexpression abrogated the adverse effects of FXR knockdown on Ins transcription and insulin content in INS-1 823/13 cells. Notably, RYGB surgery led to improved insulin content in diabetic GK rats, which was accompanied by upregulated FXR and Foxa2 expression and Ins transcription. Collectively, these data suggest that Foxa2 serves as the target gene of FXR in beta-cells and mediates FXR-enhanced Ins transcription. Additionally, the upregulated FXR/Foxa2 signaling cascade could contribute to the enhanced insulin content in diabetic GK rats after RYGB.
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Key words
Farnesoid X receptor,Foxa2,Insulin content,Roux-en-Y gastric bypass,Diabetes
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