"Islet ß-cells are responsible for secreting all circulating insulin in response to rising plasma glucose concentrations. These cells are a phenotypically diverse population that express great functional heterogeneity. In mice, certain ß-cells (termed 'hubs') have been shown to be crucial for dictating the islet response to high glucose, with inhibition of these hub cells abolishing the coordinated Ca2+ oscillations necessary for driving insulin secretion. These ß-cell hubs were found to be highly metabolic and susceptible to pro-inflammatory and glucolipotoxic insults. In this study, we explored the importance of hub cells in human by constructing mathematical models of Ca2+ activity in human islets. Our simulations revealed that hubs dictate the coordinated Ca2+ response in both mouse and human islets; silencing a small proportion of hubs abolished whole-islet Ca2+ activity. We also observed that if hubs are assumed to be preferentially gap junction coupled, then the simulations better adhere to the available experimental data. Our simulations of 16 size-matched mouse and human islet architectures revealed that there are species differences in the role of hubs; ..."
Lei CL, Kellard JA, Hara M, Johnson JD, Rodriguez B, Briant LJB (2018) Beta-cell hubs maintain Ca2+ oscillations in human and mouse islet simulations. Islets 10:151-167 [PubMed]