Brandon B Boland 1 , 2 , Charles Brown 3 , Michelle L Boland 3 , 2 , Jennifer Cann 3 , Michal Sulikowski 3 , Gitte Hansen 2 , Rikke V Grønlund 2 , Wanda King 3 , Cristina Rondinone 3 , James Trevaskis 3 , Christopher J Rhodes 3 , Joseph S Grimsby 3
The onset of common obesity-linked type 2 diabetes (T2D) is marked by exhaustive failure of pancreatic β-cell functional mass to compensate for insulin resistance and increased metabolic demand, leading to uncontrolled hyperglycemia. Here, the β-cell-deficient obese hyperglycemic/hyperinsulinemic KS db/db mouse model was used to assess consequential effects on β-cell functional recovery by lowering glucose homeostasis and/or improving insulin sensitivity after treatment with thiazolidinedione therapy or glucagon-like peptide 1 receptor agonism alone or in combination with sodium/glucose cotransporter 2 inhibition (SGLT-2i). SGLT-2i combination therapies improved glucose homeostasis, independent of changes in body weight, resulting in a synergistic increase in pancreatic insulin content marked by significant recovery of the β-cell mature insulin secretory population but with limited changes in β-cell mass and no indication of β-cell dedifferentiation. Restoration of β-cell insulin secretory capacity also restored biphasic insulin secretion. These data emphasize that by therapeutically alleviating the demand for insulin in vivo, irrespective of weight loss, endogenous β-cells recover significant function that can contribute to attenuating diabetes. Thus, this study provides evidence that alleviation of metabolic demand on the β-cell, rather than targeting the β-cell itself, could be effective in delaying the progression of T2D.