L-Asparagine (2–10 mM) failed to affect insulin secretion from rat pancreatic islets incubated in the absence of exogenous nutrient or presence of D-glucose, but caused a dose-related and progressive enhancement of insulin release evoked by L-leucine, 2-aminobicyclo [2,2,1] heptane-2-carboxylate, or 2-ketoisocaproate. The secretory response to the combination of L-asparagine and L-leucine was augmented by theophylline and inhibited in the absence of extracellular Ca2+ or presence of either menadione or methylamine. L-Asparagine augmented leucine-stimulated 45Ca net uptake. The ATP content, rate of O2 uptake, and malate/ pyruvate ratio were not significantly different in islets exposed to L-leucine alone or to both L-asparagine and L-leucine, respectively. In the sole presence of L-asparagine, however, the malate/oxalacetate ratio was decreased and the malat/pyruvate ratio increased, relative to basal values. It is proposed that the enhancing action of L-asparagine upon insulin release evoked by L-leucine might be due to an accelerated generation rate of cytosolic NAOPH, rather than to any sizable increase in either islet respiration or steady-state cytosolic NADPH/NADP+ ratio.

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