Wnt4 is heterogeneously activated in maturing β-cells to control calcium signaling, metabolism and function

Research output: Contribution to journalResearch articleContributedpeer-review



Diabetes is a multifactorial disorder characterized by loss or dysfunction of pancreatic β-cells. β-cells are heterogeneous, exhibiting different glucose sensing, insulin secretion and gene expression. They communicate with other endocrine cell types via paracrine signals and between β-cells via gap junctions. Here, we identify the importance of signaling between β-cells via the extracellular signal WNT4. We show heterogeneity in Wnt4 expression, most strikingly in the postnatal maturation period, Wnt4-positive cells, being more mature while Wnt4-negative cells are more proliferative. Knock-out in adult β-cells shows that WNT4 controls the activation of calcium signaling in response to a glucose challenge, as well as metabolic pathways converging to lower ATP/ADP ratios, thereby reducing insulin secretion. These results reveal that paracrine signaling between β-cells is important in addition to gap junctions in controling insulin secretion. Together with previous reports of WNT4 up-regulation in obesity our observations suggest an adaptive insulin response coordinating β-cells.


Original languageEnglish
Article number6255
Number of pages15
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022

External IDs

Scopus 85140338062
WOS 000871124000032
PubMed 36271049
Mendeley 0b6020ef-b994-3053-9636-f8efba4cc2c2


Sustainable Development Goals


  • Catenin, Distinct, Dynamics, Glucose, Growth, Insulin-secretion, Mass, Pancreatic-islets, Pathways, Release