Calcium distribution in B cells of the isolated perfused rat pancreas was examined by the pyroantimonate precipitation technique in relation to the insulin secretory pattern of the perfused pancreas in response to 3 mM or 20 mM D-glucose or 20 mM D-glucose in calcium-depleted ethylene glycol tetra-acetic acid (EGTA) medium. Perfusion fixation after various time intervals from 3 to 30 min allowed appropriate relation to. secretory phases. Qualitative and quantitative evaluation of the precipitation patterns revealed a significant increase in cell membrane associated precipitates after 3–5 min of perfusion with 20 mM glucose compared with the results after perfusion with 3 mM glucose. After 10–30 min of perfusion with 20 mM glucose there was an additional significant increase in precipitates located in the cytoplasm and the halos of the secretory granules. Perfusion with 20 mM glucose in calcium-deprived EGTA medium strongly reduced the number of precipitates within the B cells. The resujts suggest that cell membrane associated calcium may be involved in exocytosis, and by its sudden increase may trigger the first phase of insulin secretion. The calcium stores in the cytoplasm and the granules may be of importance for long-term regulation of insulin release.

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