Fluorometry and high-performance liquid chromatography were used to measure the content of free CoA and the esters of acetate, malonate, succinate, and long-chain fatty acids in isolated perifused rat pancreatic islets exposed to 25 mM glucose or a mixture of fuels (25 mM glucose plus 10 mM glutamine, 10 mM lactate, and 1 mM pyruvate) to assess the role of intermediates of lipid metabolism as candidate metabolic coupling factors in the mechanism of fuel-induced insulin secretion. Insulin secretion was stimulated in a biphasic manner with the fuel mixture, showing twice the potency compared with high glucose alone. Islets perifused for 3 min with high glucose alone or the fuel mixture compared with 2.5 mM glucose showed a significant increase in malonyl-CoA and succinyl-CoA and a decrease in acetyl-CoA. Free CoA and long-chain acyl-CoA levels were unaltered. Perifused islets stimulated with 25 mM glucose for 30 min showed a significant increase in succinyl-CoA and long-chain acyl-CoA and decrease in acetyl-CoA, whereas malonyl-CoA was not affected. However, when islets were stimulated by the fuel mixture for 30 min, malonyl-CoA was maintained at a high level, and the change in succinyl-CoA and long-chain acyl-CoA was similar to that observed in islets stimulated with 25 mM glucose alone. The acetyl-CoA concentration in the islets stimulated with the fuel mixture decreased slightly. These results confirm the viability of the hypothesis that malonyl-CoA and long-chain acyl-CoA serve as metabolic coupling factors in signal transduction when islets are stimulated by high glucose or glucose combined with other fuels.

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