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Naunyn Schmiedebergs Arch Pharmacol. 1980 Jul;312(3):277-83.

Metabolic, cationic and secretory effects of hypoglycemic sulfonylureas in pancreatic islets.


Tolbutamide, gliclazide and glibenclamide failed to stimulate glucose oxidation in rat pancreatic islets. Tolbutamide also failed to stimulate pyruvate and palmitate oxidation and decreased the islet content of NAD(P)H and ATP. Tolbutamide stimulated 45Ca net uptake, inhibited 86Rb net uptake and tended to increase 22Na net uptake by the islets. The effect of theophylline upon islet function differed from that of tolbutamide by the magnitude of its insulinotropic action as a function of the glucose concentration, by its stimulant action upon the utilization of endogenous nutrients in islets deprived of glucose and by the lack of gross alteration in 45Ca and 86Rb net uptake. It is concluded that the insulinotropic effect of hypoglycemic sulfonylureas cannot be merely equated to a facilitation of nutrient metabolism or inactivation of phosphodiesterase in the islet cells. The primary action of these drugs could be to affect cations transport across the B-cell membrane.

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