Islet transplantation is a type of cellular replacement therapy for severe diabetes that is limited by compromising effect on engrafted islets. Trials aiming to improve the function of transplanted islets have also been challenging. This study attempted to elucidate whether regulation of growth hormone secretagogue receptor-1a (GHS-R1a), one of the ghrelin receptors, improve the therapeutic effects of islet transplantation using [D-Lys3]-GHRP-6 (DLS), a specific GHS-R1a antagonist. The therapeutic effects of DLS were assessed in terms of the expression/production of endocrine genes/proteins, insulin-releasing function under glucose stimulation of mouse islets, and outcomes of syngeneic murine islet transplantation with systemic DLS administration. DLS treatment promoted insulin production and suppressed somatostatin production, suggesting that cancelation of the binding between ghrelin and GHS-R1a on β or δ cells improved insulin expression. DLS also promoted the glucose-dependent insulin-releasing function of β cells. However, the therapeutic effect of DLS in islet transplantation was fractional. In conclusion, the GHS-R1a antagonist showed preferable effects in improving the therapeutic outcomes of islet transplantation, including the promotion of insulin-releasing function.
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