Techniques for the monolayer culture of pancreatic islet cells from adult rats and the responsiveness of B cells are described. Whole pancreatic tissue was enzymatically dispersed and then cultured for 30 days in tissue culture medium 199 containing 5·5 mmol glucose/l, with or without 1 mmol 2-deoxyglucose/l. In the absence of 2-deoxyglucose, the responsiveness of B cells diminished to almost zero by day 15 and islets degenerated. In contrast, addition of 2-deoxyglucose to the medium resulted in a selective degeneration of fibroblasts, yielding monolayers that consisted mostly of islet cells. In this stationary system in which monolayers of islet cells were maintained in medium with 2-deoxyglucose, insulin secretion from B cells on days 15 and 30 increased in a dose-dependent fashion in response to increasing concentrations of glucose, leucine and 2-ketoisocaproate. Similarly, when exposed to 16·7 mmol glucose/l, perifused B cells showed a biphasic pattern of insulin secretion on day 15. Addition of 10 μmol forskolin/l and 200 nmol 12-O-tetradecanoyl phorbol13-acetate/l remarkably enhanced this response. Likewise, the response to 10 mmol leucine/l or 10 mmol 2-ketoisocaproate/l was biphasic. These results suggest that these monolayer cultures retain the functional properties of the adult rat pancreas, and may be useful not only as a model for the in-vitro study of B cell function, but also for implantation.
J. Endocr. (1988) 118, 173–178