Development of a robust insulin secretory response to glucose occurs during the early neonatal period. To determine if neuroendocrine agents play a role during this time, we studied the effects of selected peptides and neurotransmitters on insulin release and polyphosphoinositide metabolism in islets isolated from 1- and 3-day neonatal rats. Vasoactive intestinal peptide had no effect on glucose-stimulated release in either islet population. In contrast, sulfated cholecystokinin octapeptide (CCK-8) significantly enhanced glucose-induced insulin release in both islet groups. One-day islets were stimulated only by a concentration of 300 nM, whereas 3-day islets were responsive at 3 nM. Similar to CCK-8, there were clear differences in responses to carbachol between 1- and 3-day islets. One-day islets required a concentration of 200 μM for insulin release to be significantly greater than with glucose alone; 3-day islet insulin release was significant at 2 μM carbachol. Both agonists stimulated inositol phosphate accumulation in 3-day islets, but only CCK-8 caused a significant increase over glucose-induced levels in 1-day islets. These results indicate that islet responsiveness to CCK-8 and carbachol develops in parallel during the early neonatal period. This development may be linked to the maturation of a critical step of stimulus-secretion coupling through which these agents act.

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