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Biochem Pharmacol. 2003 Jan 15;65(2):283-92.

Cooperative enhancement of insulinotropic action of GLP-1 by acetylcholine uncovers paradoxical inhibitory effect of beta cell muscarinic receptor activation on adenylate cyclase activity.

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School of Biomedical Sciences, University of Ulster, Coleraine, Co Londonderry, Northern Ireland, BT52 1SA, UK.


The cooperative effect of glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) and acetylcholine (ACh) was evaluated in a beta cell line model (BRIN BD11). GLP-1 (20 nM) and ACh (100 microM) increased insulin secretion by 24-47%, whereas in combination there was a further 89% enhancement of insulin release. Overnight culture with 100 ng/mL pertussis toxin (PTX) or 10nM PMA significantly reduced the combined insulinotropic action (P<0.05 and P<0.001, respectively) and the sole stimulatory effects of GLP-1 (PTX treatment; P<0.01) or ACh (PMA treatment; P<0.05). Under control conditions, ACh (50nM-1mM) concentration-dependently inhibited by up to 40% (P<0.001) the 10-fold (P<0.001) elevation of cyclic 3',5'-adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) induced by 20 nM GLP-1. The paradoxical inhibitory action of ACh was abolished by PTX pre-treatment, suggesting involvement of G(i) and/or G(o) G protein alpha subunit. Effects of selective muscarinic receptor antagonists on the concentration-dependent insulinotropic actions of ACh (50 nM-1 mM) on 20 nM GLP-1 induced insulin secretion revealed inhibition by rho-FHHSiD (M3 antagonist, P<0.05), stimulation with pirenzepine (M1 antagonist, P<0.001) and no significant effects of either methoctramine (M2 antagonist) or MT-3 (M4 antagonist). Antagonism of M2, M3 and M4 muscarinic receptor effects with methoctramine (3-100 nM), rho-FHHSiD (3-30 nM) or MT-3 (10-300 nM) did not significantly affect the inhibitory action of ACh on GLP-1 stimulated cAMP production. In contrast, M1 receptor antagonism with pirenzepine (3-30 0nM) resulted in a concentration-dependent decrease in the inhibitory action of ACh on GLP-1 stimulated cAMP production (P<0.001). These data indicate an important functional cooperation between the cholinergic neurotransmitter ACh and the incretin hormone GLP-1 on insulin secretion mediated through the M3 muscarinic receptor subtype. However, the insulinotropic action of ACh was associated with a paradoxical inhibitory effect on GLP-1 stimulated cAMP production, achieved through a novel PTX- and pirenzepine-sensitive M1 muscarinic receptor activated pathway. An imbalance between these pathways may contribute to dysfunctional insulin secretion.

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