Glycerol is a key metabolite for lipid accumulation in insulin-sensitive tissues as well as for pancreatic insulin secretion. We examined the role of aquaporin-7 (AQP7), the main glycerol channel in β-cells, and AQP12, an aquaporin related to pancreatic damage, in the improvement of pancreatic function and steatosis after sleeve gastrectomy in diet-induced obese rats.SUBJECTS/METHODS:
Male Wistar obese rats (n = 125) were subjected to surgical (sham operation and sleeve gastrectomy) or dietary (pair-fed to the amount of food eaten by sleeve-gastrectomized animals) interventions. The tissue distribution and expression of AQPs in the rat pancreas were analyzed by real-time PCR, western blotting and immunohistochemistry. The effect of ghrelin isoforms and glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) on insulin secretion, triacylglycerol (TG) accumulation and AQP expression was determined in vitro in RIN-m5F β-cells.RESULTS:
Sleeve gastrectomy reduced pancreatic β-cell apoptosis, steatosis and insulin secretion. Lower ghrelin and higher GLP-1 concentrations were also found after bariatric surgery. Acylated and desacyl ghrelin increased TG content, whereas GLP-1 increased insulin release in RIN-m5F β-cells. Sleeve gastrectomy was associated with an upregulation of AQP7 together with a normalization of the increased AQP12 levels in the rat pancreas. Interestingly, ghrelin and GLP-1 repressed AQP7 and AQP12 expression in RIN-m5F β-cells. AQP7 protein was negatively correlated with intracellular lipid accumulation in acylated ghrelin-treated cells and with insulin release in GLP-1-stimulated β-cells.CONCLUSIONS:
AQP7 upregulation in β-cells after sleeve gastrectomy contributes, in part, to the improvement of pancreatic steatosis and insulin secretion by increasing intracellular glycerol used for insulin release triggered by GLP-1 rather than for ghrelin-induced TG biosynthesis.