A widely accepted genetically determined rodent model for human type 2 diabetes is the Goto-Kakizaki (GK) rat; however, the lesion(s) in the pancreatic islets of these rats has not been identified. Herein, intact islets from GK rats (aged 8-14 weeks) were studied, both immediately after isolation and after 18 h in tissue culture. Despite intact contents of insulin and protein, GK islets had markedly deficient insulin release in response to glucose, as well as to pure mitochondrial fuels or a non-nutrient membrane-depolarizing stimulus (40 mmol/l K+). In contrast, mastoparan (which activates GTP-binding proteins [GBPs]) completely circumvented any secretory defect. Basal and stimulated levels of adenine and guanine nucleotides, the activation of phospholipase C by Ca2+ or glucose, the secretory response to pertussis toxin, and the activation of selected low-molecular weight GBPs were not impaired. Defects were found, however, in the autophosphorylation and catalytic activity of cytosolic nucleoside diphosphokinase (NDPK), which may provide compartmentalized GTP pools to activate G-proteins; a deficient content of phosphoinositides was also detected. These studies identify novel, heretofore unappreciated, defects late in signal transduction in the islets of our colony of GK rats, possibly occurring at the site of activation by NDPK of a mastoparan-sensitive G-protein-dependent step in exocytosis.

This content is only available via PDF.