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Biophys J. 2010 Jul 7;99(1):76-84. doi: 10.1016/j.bpj.2010.04.012.

Metabolic oscillations in pancreatic islets depend on the intracellular Ca2+ level but not Ca2+ oscillations.

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Department of Pharmacology and Brehm Diabetes Center, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA.


Plasma insulin is pulsatile and reflects oscillatory insulin secretion from pancreatic islets. Although both islet Ca(2+) and metabolism oscillate, there is disagreement over their interrelationship, and whether they can be dissociated. In some models of islet oscillations, Ca(2+) must oscillate for metabolic oscillations to occur, whereas in others metabolic oscillations can occur without Ca(2+) oscillations. We used NAD(P)H fluorescence to assay oscillatory metabolism in mouse islets stimulated by 11.1 mM glucose. After abolishing Ca(2+) oscillations with 200 microM diazoxide, we observed that oscillations in NAD(P)H persisted in 34% of islets (n = 101). In the remainder of the islets (66%) both Ca(2+) and NAD(P)H oscillations were eliminated by diazoxide. However, in most of these islets NAD(P)H oscillations could be restored and amplified by raising extracellular KCl, which elevated the intracellular Ca(2+) level but did not restore Ca(2+) oscillations. Comparatively, we examined islets from ATP-sensitive K(+) (K(ATP)) channel-deficient SUR1(-/-) mice. Again NAD(P)H oscillations were evident even though Ca(2+) and membrane potential oscillations were abolished. These observations are predicted by the dual oscillator model, in which intrinsic metabolic oscillations and Ca(2+) feedback both contribute to the oscillatory islet behavior, but argue against other models that depend on Ca(2+) oscillations for metabolic oscillations to occur.

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