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Biophys J. 2007 Mar 1;92(5):1544-55. Epub 2006 Dec 15.

Interaction of glycolysis and mitochondrial respiration in metabolic oscillations of pancreatic islets.

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Department of Mathematics and Programs in Neuroscience and Molecular Biophysics, Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida, USA.


Insulin secretion from pancreatic beta-cells is oscillatory, with a typical period of 2-7 min, reflecting oscillations in membrane potential and the cytosolic Ca(2+) concentration. Our central hypothesis is that the slow 2-7 min oscillations are due to glycolytic oscillations, whereas faster oscillations that are superimposed are due to Ca(2+) feedback onto metabolism or ion channels. We extend a previous mathematical model based on this hypothesis to include a more detailed description of mitochondrial metabolism. We demonstrate that this model can account for typical oscillatory patterns of membrane potential and Ca(2+) concentration in islets. It also accounts for temporal data on oxygen consumption in islets. A recent challenge to the notion that glycolytic oscillations drive slow Ca(2+) oscillations in islets are data showing that oscillations in Ca(2+), mitochondrial oxygen consumption, and NAD(P)H levels are all terminated by membrane hyperpolarization. We demonstrate that these data are in fact compatible with a model in which glycolytic oscillations are the key player in rhythmic islet activity. Finally, we use the model to address the recent finding that the activity of islets from some mice is uniformly fast, whereas that from islets of other mice is slow. We propose a mechanism for this dichotomy.

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