Using knockout and transgenic technology, genetically modified animal models allowed us to understand the role of glucagon signalling in metabolism. Mice with a global deletion of the glucagon receptor gene (Gcgr) were designed using gene targeting. The phenotype of Gcgr-/-mouse provided important clues about the role of Gcgr in foetal growth, pancreatic development and glucose and lipid homeostasis. The lack of Gcgr activation was associated with: (i) hypoglycaemic pregnancies, poor foetal growth and increased foetal-neonatal demise; (ii) altered cytoarchitecture of pancreatic islets; (iii) altered glucose, lipid and hormonal milieu; (iv) reduced gastric emptying; (v) altered body composition and protection from diet-induced obesity; (vi) altered energy state; (vii) impaired hepatocyte survival; (viii) altered metabolic response to prolonged fasting and exercise and (ix) prevented development of diabetes in insulin-deficient mice. In contrast, mice overexpressing the Gcgr on pancreatic β-cells displayed an increase insulin secretion, pancreatic insulin content and β-cell mass, and partially protected against hyperglycaemia and impaired glucose tolerance when fed a high-fat diet. These findings suggest that glucagon signalling plays a significant role in the regulation of glucose and lipid homeostasis. Treatment options designed to block Gcgr activation may have negative implications in the treatment of diabetes.
- Gcgr knockout mouse model
- Glucagon signalling
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Internal Medicine
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism