Islets from fed and 24-h-fasted rats were studied immediately after collagenase isolation. (1) After a 24-h fast, the insulin secretory responses to 8 mM glucose measured during perifusion were reduced by more than 90% from islets of fasted donors. (2) Increasing glucose to 11 or 27.5 mM resulted in enhanced insulin secretion from islets of fasted animals. (3) Fasting did not reduce islet insulin content. (4) Responses to 8 or 27.5 mM glucose were not affected if fatty acid-free albumin was used during the perifusion. (5) Inclusion of alpha-ketoisocaproate (5 mM), monomethyl succinate (10 mM) or carbachol (10 microM) significantly amplified insulin release from fasted islets in the simultaneous presence of 8 mM glucose. (6) Phospholipase C activation by glucose, carbachol or their combination was not adversely affected by fasting. (7) The response to the protein kinase C activator, phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate (500 nM), was reduced by about 60% after fasting. (8) Extending the fast to 48 h resulted in a severe decline in response to 11 mM glucose; however, the further addition of 10 microM carbachol still enhanced release from these islets. The results confirm that caloric restriction impairs islet sensitivity to glucose stimulation and that protein kinase C may be involved in the reduction of glucose-induced insulin release from these islets. The activation of phospholipase C by cholinergic stimulation may contribute to the maintenance of insulin secretion from calorically restricted animals. These results also demonstrate that free fatty acids are not essential for glucose to evoke secretion from isolated islets of fasted donors.
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