Recent reports have shown that cannabinoid 1 receptors (CB1Rs) are expressed in pancreatic β cells, where they induce cell death and cell cycle arrest by directly inhibiting insulin receptor activation. Here, we report that CB1Rs regulate the expression of the anti-apoptotic protein Bcl-2 and cell cycle regulator cyclin D2 in pancreatic β cells. Treatment of MIN6 and βTC6 cells with a synthetic CB1R agonist, WIN55,212-2, led to a decrease in the expression of Bcl-2 and cyclin D2, in turn inducing cell cycle arrest in G0/G1 phase and caspase-3-dependent apoptosis. Additionally, genetic deletion and pharmacological blockade of CB1Rs after injury in mice led to increased levels of Bcl-2 and cyclin D2 in pancreatic β cells. These findings provide evidence for the involvement of Bcl-2 and cyclin D2 mediated by CB1Rs in the regulation of β-cell survival and growth, and will serve as a basis for developing new therapeutic interventions to enhance β-cell function and growth in diabetes.
Kim, J., Lee, K. J., Kim, J. S., Rho, J. G., Shin, J. J., Song, W. K., … Kim, W. (2016). Cannabinoids regulate Bcl-2 and cyclin D2 expression in pancreatic β cells. PLoS ONE, 11(3). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0150981