Diabetic states are characterized by a raised serum/islet level of triglycerides and a lowered EC50 (concentration at half-maximal stimulation) for glucose-induced insulin secretion. Culturing islets with long-chain fatty acids (FAs) replicates the basal insulin hypersecretion. In a previous study, we showed that the mechanism involved deinhibition of hexokinase by a 60% decrease in glucose-6-phosphate (G-6-P). The key event was proposed to be an increased phosphofructokinase (PFK) Vmax secondary to an upregulatory effect of the FA metabolite, long-chain acyl-coenzyme A (LC-CoA). We now show another contributory factor, a lowered content of the PFK inhibitor citrate. Citrate synthase Vmax and citrate levels were lowered 45% in rat islets cultured with 250 micromol/l oleate for 24 h. Both effects were reversed by triacsin C, an inhibitor of fatty acyl-CoA synthetase, the enzyme that generates LC-CoA. Culturing islets with high doses of glucose (16.7 mmol/l) for 48 h should also raise cytosolic LC-CoA. As predicted, citrate synthase Vmax was lowered and PFK Vmax was increased, both in a triacsin C-reversible fashion. These results show shared selected functional and biochemical properties in beta-cells of so-called glucotoxicity and lipotoxicity.

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