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Pancreas. 1996 Oct;13(3):253-8.

Eicosapentaenoic acid (C20:5) augments glucose-induced insulin secretion from beta-TC3 insulinoma cells.

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Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia 19104-6082, USA.


There has been a large amount of recent literature suggesting that omega-3 unsaturated fatty acids found in fish oils should be incorporated into the diet for the purpose of decreasing serum cholesterol levels. Inclusion of these fatty acids in the diet has been shown to decrease total serum cholesterol as well as low-density lipoprotein cholesterol. Some of these trials have been complicated by the fact that many of the subjects are afflicted with non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus. Unfortunately, the effects of omega-3 unsaturated fatty acids on insulin secretion have not been well characterized. In this study, we have examined the effect of a common omega-3 unsaturated fatty acid, eicosapentaenoic acid (C20:5), on insulin secretion. Using the beta-TC3 insulinoma cell line as a model system for studying insulin exocytosis, C20:5 selectively potentiated glucose-induced insulin secretion. At the same concentration at which it significantly increased glucose-induced insulin secretion, C20:5 did not affect glucose metabolism or intracellular free calcium concentrations. C20:5 also augmented potassium-induced insulin secretion. These data suggest that C20:5, an abundant omega-3 unsaturated fatty acid, acts to augment insulin secretion in a glucose-dependent manner.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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