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Eur J Clin Invest. 1981 Dec;11(6):455-60.

The stimulus-secretion coupling of amino acid-induced insulin release: insulinotropic action of branched-chain amino acids at physiological concentrations of glucose and glutamine.


The stimulant action of branched-chain amino acids upon insulin release was examined in rat pancreatic islets incubated at physiological concentrations of D-glucose and L-glutamine. In the presence of the latter nutrients, L-leucine and L-isoleucine used together at a physiological concentration (0.25 mmol/l each) doubled insulin secretion rate. The effect of L-leucine upon insulin release was dose-related without any indication of of a threshold phenomenon. The insulinotropic action of L-leucine was mimicked, to a limited extent, by its nonmetabolized analogue, 2-aminobicyclo[2,2,1] heptane-2-carboxylic acid. L-Glutamine slightly inhibited glucose-stimulated insulin release. It is concluded that, under close-to-physiological conditions, L-leucine stimulates insulin release by acting in the islet cells both as a fuel and as an allosteric activator of glutamate dehydrogenase.

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