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Diabetes. 2009 Jul;58(7):1616-24. doi: 10.2337/db08-1787. Epub 2009 Apr 28.

Inhibitory effects of leptin on pancreatic alpha-cell function.

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  • 1Instituto de Bioingeniería, Universidad Miguel Hernandez, Elche, Spain.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

Leptin released from adipocytes plays a key role in the control of food intake, energy balance, and glucose homeostasis. In addition to its central action, leptin directly affects pancreatic beta-cells, inhibiting insulin secretion, and, thus, modulating glucose homeostasis. However, despite the importance of glucagon secretion in glucose homeostasis, the role of leptin in alpha-cell function has not been studied in detail. In the present study, we have investigated this functional interaction.

RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS:

The presence of leptin receptors (ObR) was demonstrated by RT-PCR analysis, Western blot, and immunocytochemistry. Electrical activity was analyzed by patch-clamp and Ca(2+) signals by confocal microscopy. Exocytosis and glucagon secretion were assessed using fluorescence methods and radioimmunoassay, respectively.

RESULTS:

The expression of several ObR isoforms (a-e) was detected in glucagon-secreting alphaTC1-9 cells. ObRb, the main isoform involved in leptin signaling, was identified at the protein level in alphaTC1-9 cells as well as in mouse and human alpha-cells. The application of leptin (6.25 nmol/l) hyperpolarized the alpha-cell membrane potential, suppressing the electrical activity induced by 0.5 mmol/l glucose. Additionally, leptin inhibited Ca(2+) signaling in alphaTC1-9 cells and in mouse and human alpha-cells within intact islets. A similar result occurred with 0.625 nmol/l leptin. These effects were accompanied by a decrease in glucagon secretion from mouse islets and were counteracted by the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase inhibitor, wortmannin, suggesting the involvement of this pathway in leptin action.

CONCLUSIONS:

These results demonstrate that leptin inhibits alpha-cell function, and, thus, these cells are involved in the adipoinsular communication.

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