A role for foregut tyrosine metabolism in glucose tolerance

Korner, Judith; Cline, Gary W.; Slifstein, Mark; Barba, Pasquale; Rayat, Gina R.; Febres, Gerardo J.; Leibel, Rudolph L.; Maffei, Antonella; Harris, Paul Emerson

Objective: We hypothesized that DA and L-DOPA derived from nutritional tyrosine and the resultant observed postprandial plasma excursions of L-DOPA and DA might affect glucose tolerance via their ability to be taken-up by beta cells and inhibit glucose-stimulated b-cell insulin secretion.
Methods: To investigate a possible circuit between meal-stimulated 3,4-dihydroxy-L-phenylalanine (L-DOPA) and dopamine (DA) production in the GI tract and pancreatic b-cells, we: 1) mapped GI mucosal expression of tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) and aromatic amino acid decarboxylase (AADC); 2) measured L-DOPA and DA content of GI mucosal tissues following meal challenges with different L-tyrosine (TYR) content, 3) determined whether meal TYR content impacts plasma insulin and glucose excursions; and 4) characterized postprandial plasma excursions of L-DOPA and DA in response to meal tyrosine content in rodents and a population of bariatric surgery patients. Next, we characterized: 1) the metabolic transformation of TYR and L-DOPA into DA in vitro using purified islet tissue; 2) the metabolic transformation of orally administrated stable isotope labeled TYR into pancreatic DA, and 3) using a nuclear medicine technique, we studied endocrine beta cells in situ release and binding of DA in response to a glucose challenge. Results: We demonstrate in rodents that intestinal content and circulatory concentrations L-DOPA and DA, plasma glucose and insulin are responsive to the tyrosine (TYR) content of a test meal. Intestinal expression of two enzymes, Tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) and Aromatic Amino acid Decarboxylase (AADC), essential to the transformation of TYR to DA was mapped and the metabolism of metabolism of TYR to DA was traced in human islets and a rodent beta cell line in vitro and from gut to the pancreas in vivo. Lastly, we show that b cells secrete and bind DA in situ in
response to glucose stimulation.
Conclusions: We provide proof-of-principle evidence for the existence of a novel postprandial circuit of glucose homeostasis dependent on nutritional tyrosine. DA and L-DOPA derived from nutritional tyrosine may serve to defend against hypoglycemia via inhibition of glucosestimulated
b-cell insulin secretion as proposed by the anti-incretin hypothesis.


Also Published In

Molecular Metabolism

More About This Work

Academic Units
Published Here
July 22, 2019


Dopamine; Glucose homeostasis; GSIS; Tyrosine; Gut, anti-incretin