The regulation of pancreatic β cell mass is a critical factor to help maintain normoglycemia during insulin resistance. Nutrient-sensing G protein-coupled receptors (GPCR) contribute to aspects of β cell function, including regulation of β cell mass. Nutrients such as free fatty acids (FFAs) contribute to precise regulation of β cell mass by signaling through cognate GPCRs, and considerable evidence suggests that circulating FFAs promote β cell expansion by direct and indirect mechanisms. Free Fatty Acid Receptor 2 (FFA2) is a β cell-expressed GPCR that is activated by short chain fatty acids, particularly acetate. Recent studies of FFA2 suggest that it may act as a regulator of β cell function. Here, we set out to explore what role FFA2 may play in regulation of β cell mass. Interestingly, Ffar2 â '/â ' mice exhibit diminished β cell mass at birth and throughout adulthood, and increased β cell death at adolescent time points, suggesting a role for FFA2 in establishment and maintenance of β cell mass. Additionally, activation of FFA2 with Gα q/11-biased agonists substantially increased β cell proliferation in in vitro and ex vivo proliferation assays. Collectively, these data suggest that FFA2 may be a novel therapeutic target to stimulate β cell growth and proliferation.
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