Breakdown of phosphatidylinositol (PI) has been shown to be increased during Ca2+-mediated stimulation of cellular responses in many systems and has been proposed to be involved in stimulus-secretion coupling. The effects on PI breakdown of insulin secretagogues that alter cellular Ca2+ or cyclic (c)AMP levels were investigated in perifused rat islets of Langerhans. Isolated islets were labeled with myo[2-3H(N)]inositol and the efflux of 3H-labelled metabolites was monitored. Glucose (16.7 mM) greatly increased 3H release in a manner that paralleled the second phase of the insulin secretory response; by 60 min, the amount of [3H]PI in the islet decreased by 50%. Removal of Ca2+ from the perifusate or blockade of Ca2+ entry through the voltage-dependent channels by D600 (20 μM) abolished the glucose-induced increase in 3H efflux. Depolarization with 47 mM K+, which increases Ca2+ entry, stimulated protracted 3H and insulin release. Glucose-stimulated output of 3H was not prevented by epinephrine (1 μM) even though the insulin response was abolished. In contrast, 3H output was not affected by isobutylmethylxanthine (1 mM), known to raise cellular levels of cAMP, although insulin release was stimulated. These findings indicate that PI breakdown is not related to the exocytotic process since stimulation of insulin release and PI breakdown could be uncoupled, and that it is not associated with cAMP-mediated regulation of insulin release. PI breakdown in islets differs from the immediate, transient phenomenon reported in other systems in both its timing and requirement for Ca2+. It appears to result from the entry of Ca2+ and not to be the mechanism by which glucose initiates Ca2+ influx.
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