Cocaine- and amphetamine-regulated transcript (CART) is mostly known for its appetite regulating effects in the central nervous system. However, CART is also highly expressed in the peripheral nervous system as well as in certain endocrine cells. Our group has dedicated more than 20 years to understand the role of CART in the pancreatic islets and in this review we summarize what is known to date about CART expression and function in the islets. CART is expressed in both islet cells and nerve fibers innervating the islets. Large species differences are at hand and CART expression is highly dynamic and increased during development, as well as in Type 2 Diabetes and certain endocrine tumors. In the human islets CART is expressed in alpha cells and beta cells and the expression is increased in T2D patients. CART increases insulin secretion, reduces glucagon secretion, and protects against beta cell death by reducing apoptosis and increasing proliferation. It is still not fully understood how CART mediates its effects or which receptors that are involved. Nevertheless, CART is endowed with several properties that are beneficial in a T2D perspective. Many of the described effects of CART resemble those of GLP-1, and interestingly CART has been found to potentiate some of the effects of GLP-1, paving the way for CART-based treatments in combination with GLP-1-based drugs.
- Endokrinologi och diabetes