Vanadium compounds are known to affect multiple membrane and cytosolic phosphoenzymes from various tissues; the most characterized effect is the inhibition of Na+-K+-ATPase. Since we previously reported that immunoreactive insulin (IRI) secretagogues tend to inhibit rat islet cationdependent ATPases, we examined the effects of sodium vanadate on rat IRI secretion from incubated and perifused rat islets. In the presence of 2.4 mM Ca2+, vanadate (10−3 M) induced biphasic IRI secretion with a background glucose of 100 mg/dl. In the absence of extracellular Ca2+, IRI released from incubated islets by vanadate at 100 and 300 mg/dl glucose was doubled and tripled, respectively. Furthermore, this stimulatory effect was completely abolished by known inhibitors of IRI release such as somatostatin, epinephrine, and diphenylhydantoin. Although we found the expected dose-dependent inhibition by vanadate of islet membrane Na+-K+- ATPase activity, the mechanism of action of vanadate on IRI secretion remains unknown. Vanadate probably interacts in a complex fashion with different islet phosphoenzymes and may prove to be a useful probe to further unravel the mechanisms leading to insulin secretion.

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