The existence of a relationship between the ventromedial hypothalamic area (VMH) and the activity of the endocrine pancreas has been shown previously. This relationship has been further tested and extended in the present study, using isolated perfused pancreases from rats previously lesioned (4-7 d) in the VMH. It was found that in isolated pancreases obtained from rats fed ad lib. for 4 d after VMH lesions (i.e., that were hyperphagic), the typical biphasic pattern of insulin secretion was observed following glucose stimulation (20 mM) and that the total insulin output was much greater than that of controls. The increased insulin output was not a result of hyperphagia because similar results were obtained using pancreases obtained from VMH-lesioned rats in which a food restriction matching exactly that of control rats was started either immediately of 3 d after the lesions. Pancreases from such food-restricted VMH-lesioned rats oversecreted insulin, when compared with controls fed the same amount, from 7 mM of glucose concentration in perfusion medium onwards. After the addition of arginine (10 mM), the total output of glucagon by pancreases from food-restricted VMH-lesioned rats was twice that of controls. Qualitatively, the arginine-induced glucagon secretion by pancreases from food-restricted VMH-lesioned rats retained its biphasic pattern. Similarly, epinephrine (0.1 μM) elicited a greater glucagon release by pancreases from food-restricted VMH-lesioned rats when compared with controls. These data further support the concept of a link (as yet undefined) between the hypothalamus and the endocrine pancreas, as lesions of the VMH area resulted in abnormal secretion not only of insulin, but of glucagon as well.
Françoise Rohner-Jeanrenaud, Bernard Jeanrenaud