We examined the relationship between glucose-induced insulin release and the intermediary metabolism of islets from fed and fasted rats. Isolated islets were perifused and insulin release measured in the effluent. At various times after switching islets from 2.4 to 8.6 or 14.5 mM glucose or from 2.4 to 14.5 and back to 2.4 mM glucose, islets were quickly frozen, freeze dried, and subsequently analyzed for tissue content of glucose-6-P, fructose-1,6-P2 plus triose-P, P1, ATP, ADP, 5'-AMP, NADH, NADPH, total NAD, and total NADP using enzymatic fluorometric procedures. When islets from fed rats were exposed to high glucose, there were concomitant increases of insulin release and islet content of glucose-6-P, fructose-1,6-P2 plus triose-P, NADH, and NADPH. During stimulation P1 and 5'-AMP content fell markedly. The total adenine nucleotide content remained constant. Similar secretory and metabolic changes occurred when 1.5 mM P1 was added to the perifusion fluid. When glucose-stimulated islets were switched back to low glucose for 10 min, all substances but fructose-1,6-P2 plus triose-P, 5'-AMP, NADPH, and possibly ATP returned to the prestimulatory level. Starvation of rats for 3 days blocked the secretory response to 8.6 mM glucose. Fructose-1,6-P2 plus triose-P rose but it did not attain the level existing in islets from fed rats. The ratios (ATP)/(5'-AMP) and (ATP)/(P1,)(ADP) increased to the values observed in glucose-stimulated islets of fed rats.

The metabolic changes in islets from fed rats exposed to high glucose are consistent with an activation of glycolysis occurring concomitantly with stimulated rates of insulin release. This occurs despite the decrease of important activators of glycolysis—P1 and 5'-AMP. The enhanced glycolysis possibly results from P-fructokinase activation by increased fructose-6-P levels. Activation of glycolysis with 8.6 mM glucose was not as pronounced in islets from starved rats. Despite the different secretory response of islets from fed and fasted rats, the changes of phosphorylation state in the islets, in particular, P1, and 5'-AMP levels, were similar.

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