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Diabetologia. 1997 Jul;40 Suppl 2:S32-41.

Signal transduction mechanisms in nutrient-induced insulin secretion.

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Department of Nutrition and Centre de Recherche L.-C. Simard, Institut du Cancer de Montreal, University of Montreal, Canada.


The knowledge of the mechanism whereby glucose and other fuel stimuli promote the release of insulin by the pancreatic beta cell remains fragmentary. The closure of metabolically sensitive K+ channels and a rise in cytosolic free Ca2+ are key features of beta-cell metabolic signal transduction. However, these two signalling events do not account for the dose dependence of glucose-induced insulin secretion. In fact, recent evidence indicates that there are KATP channel and Ca2+ independent pathway(s) of beta-cell activation which remain to be defined. In this review, we have limited our attention to the recent developments in our understanding of the mode of action of nutrient secretagogues. A particular emphasis is placed in summarising the evidence in support of two new concepts: 1) oscillations in the glycolytic pathway and beta-cell metabolism contribute to the oscillatory nature of beta-cell ionic events and insulin secretion; 2) malonyl-CoA and long chain acyl-CoA esters may act as metabolic coupling factors in beta-cell signalling. Finally, we propose that the altered expression of genes encoding enzymes in the pathway of malonyl-CoA formation and fatty acid oxidation contributes to the beta-cell insensitivity to glucose in some patients with non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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