The purpose of the present study was to investigate the regulation of insulin biosynthesis during the perinatal period. The incorporation of [3H]leucine into total immunoreactive insulin (IRI) and into IRI fractions was measured by a specific immunoprecipitation procedure after incubation, extraction, and gel filtration in isolated 3-day-old rat pancreases without prior isolation of islets. IRI fractions were identified by their elution profile, their immunological properties, and their ability to compete with the binding of 125 I-insulin in rat liver plasma membranes. No specific incorporation of [3H]leucine was found in the IRI eluted in the void volume, making it unlikely that this fraction behaves as a precursor of (pro) insulin in this system. In all conditions tested, the incorporation of [3H]leucine was linearly correlated with time. Optimal concentration of glucose (11 mM) activated six- to sevenfold the [3H]leucine incorporation into IRI. Theophylline or N6O2-dibutyryl- (db) cAMP at 1.6 mM glucose significantly increased the [3H]leucine incorporation. Glucose at 16.7 mM further enhanced the effect of both drugs. Contrarily, somatostatin (1-10 mug/ml) inhibits the rate of [3H]leucine incorporation into IRI in the presence of 11 mM glucose; this effect was observed at 5.5 mM glucose and was not modified by any further increase in glucose concentrations up to 27.5 mM. Theophylline or dbcAMP at 10 mM concentration did not reverse the somatostatin inhibitory effect on either insulin biosynthesis or release. Somatostatin also inhibited both processes in isolated islets from the 3-day-old rat pancreas. High Ca++ concentration in the incubation medium reversed the inhibitory effect of somatostatin on glucose-induced insulin biosynthesis as well as release. In both systems the inhibitory effect of somatostatin on insulin biosynthesis and release correlated well. Glipizide (10-100 muM) AND TOLBUTAMIDE (400 MUM) inhibited the stimulatory effect of glucose, dbcAMP, and theophylline on [3H]leucine incorporation into IRI. The concentrations of glipizide that were effective in inhibiting [3H]leucine incorporation into IRI were smaller than those required to inhibit the phosphodiesterase activity in isolated islets of 3-day-old rat pancreas. These data suggest the following conclusions: (a) the role of the cAMP-phosphodiesterase system on insulin biosynthesis is likely to be greater in newborns than in adults; (b) the greater effectiveness of glucose and the cAMP system on insulin biosynthesis than on insulin release might possibly be related to the rapid accumulation of pancreatic IRI which is observed in the perinatal period; (c) somatostatin, by direct interaction with the endocrine tissue, can inhibit glucose and cAMP-induced insulin biosynthesis as well as release; calcium reverses this inhibition; (d) sulfonylureas inhibit insulin biosynthesis in newborn rat pancreas an effect which has to be considered in the use of these agents in human disease.


S D Garcia, C Jarrousse, G Rosselin


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