We have previously shown that in the intact rat: (1) the inhibition of glucose-induced insulin release caused by vincristine occurred in the presence or absence of morphologic disruption of the beta-cell microtubules; and (2) vincristine, however, failed to inhibit arginine-induced insulin release, even in the presence of a marked disruption of the beta-cell microtubules. The present study further evaluated the mechanism of inhibition of vincristine on glucose-induced insulin release in the intact rat. In the first series of studies, glucose (500 mg/kg) was infused over 1 min into fasting rats with indwelling vascular catheters. Five minutes later, vincristine (0.15 mg/kg i.v.) or vehicle (control) was injected. Sixty minutes after vincristine or vehicle treatment, insulin release in response to a 150-mg i.v. glucose pulse was examined. Serum insulin and glucose levels were similar at all time intervals in the vincristine-treated and the control rats. In the next series of studies, the experiments were repeated as above, except arginine (100 mg/kg), instead of glucose, was infused over 1 min before vincristine or vehicle treatment. In these studies, serum insulin in response to a glucose pulse was significantly inhibited in the vincristine-treated rats as compared with control rats. Therefore, in the intact rat, prior exposure to glucose but not arginine protected the beta-cell from the inhibitory effect of vincristine on glucose-induced insulin release. These findings, along with our previous observations, support the concept that arginine-induced insulin release is mediated via mechanisms other than those involved in glucose-induced insulin release and suggest that the in vivo effect of vincristine on glucose-induced insulin release is mediated via alteration of the beta-cell glucose receptors rather than microtubular structures.

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