Nuclear Hormone Retinoid X Receptor (RXR) Negatively Regulates the Glucose-Stimulated Insulin Secretion of Pancreatic β-Cells

  1. Jun-ichi Miyazaki1
  1. 1Division of Stem Cell Regulation Research, Osaka University Graduate School of Medicine, Osaka, Japan;
  2. 2Department of Endocrinology, Metabolism and Diabetes, Kinki University School of Medicine, Osaka, Japan;
  3. 3Section on Molecular Genetics of Immunity, Laboratory of Molecular Growth Regulation, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland.
  1. Corresponding author: Jun-ichi Miyazaki, jimiyaza{at}
  1. S.M. and H.T. contributed equally to this work.


OBJECTIVE Retinoid X receptors (RXRs) are members of the nuclear hormone receptor superfamily and are thought to be key regulators in differentiation, cellular growth, and gene expression. Although several experiments using pancreatic β-cell lines have shown that the ligands of nuclear hormone receptors modulate insulin secretion, it is not clear whether RXRs have any role in insulin secretion.

RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS To elucidate the function of RXRs in pancreatic β-cells, we generated a double-transgenic mouse in which a dominant-negative form of RXRβ was inducibly expressed in pancreatic β-cells using the Tet-On system. We also established a pancreatic β-cell line from an insulinoma caused by the β-cell–specific expression of simian virus 40 T antigen in the above transgenic mouse.

RESULTS In the transgenic mouse, expression of the dominant-negative RXR enhanced the insulin secretion with high glucose stimulation. In the pancreatic β-cell line, the suppression of RXRs also enhanced glucose-stimulated insulin secretion at a high glucose concentration, while 9-cis-retinoic acid, an RXR agonist, repressed it. High-density oligonucleotide microarray analysis showed that expression of the dominant-negative RXR affected the expression levels of a number of genes, some of which have been implicated in the function and/or differentiation of β-cells.

CONCLUSIONS These results suggest that endogenous RXR negatively regulates the glucose-stimulated insulin secretion. Given these findings, we propose that the modulation of endogenous RXR in β-cells may be a new therapeutic approach for improving impaired insulin secretion in type 2 diabetes.


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  • Received December 28, 2009.
  • Accepted August 13, 2010.

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