Enhancement of arachidonic acid metabolism results in increased insulin secretion. To determine which pathways of arachidonic acid metabolism were involved in this stimulation, we studied the effects of various inhibitors of arachidonate metabolism on arginine-induced insulin and glucagon secretion in the isolated, perfused rat pancreas. The release of PGE2 from the pancreas was monitored to document the efficacy of the inhibitory drugs.

p-Bromophenacyl bromide, a phospholipase A2 inhibitor, diminished PGE2 release and significantly inhibited both the early and late phases of insulin and glucagon release in response to arginine. Flurbiprofen, a specific cyclooxygenase inhibitor, decreased the early phase of insulin release and inhibited both phases of arginine-stimulated glucagon secretion; these decreases were concurrent with a large inhibition of PGE2 release. Nordihydroguaiaretic acid, a li-poxygenase inhibitor, at a dose of 10-5 M did not affect PGE2 release, inhibited the early phase of insulin release, and did not modify glucagon secretion. The combination of flurbiprofen and nordihydroguaiaretic acid, although the most potent in inhibiting PGE2, lowered only the early phase of insulin and had no effect on glucagon secretion.

We conclude that: (1) endogenous cyclooxygenase-derived metabolites of arachidonic acid promote insulin and glucagon release, (2) endogenous lipoxygenase products preferentially stimulate insulin release, and (3) phospholipase A2 activity has an intrinsic modulatory effect on insulin and glucagon secretion.

This content is only available via PDF.