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P. R. Flatt, M. G. DeSilva, S. K. Swanston-Flatt, C. J. Powell, and V. Marks

ABSTRACT

The effects of repeated s.c. transplantation of clonal insulin-secreting RINm5F cells in NEDH rats on tumour morphology, insulin–glucose homeostasis and the function of RINm5F cells re-established in culture were examined after maintenance in vivo for periods of up to 308 days. Transplantation of RINm5F cells for ten consecutive passages consistently produced a single encapsulated vascularized tumour associated with the development in recipient rats of hyperinsulinaemia, hypoglycaemia and eventual neuroglycopenic coma. At the tenth passage, tumour-bearing rats exhibited a markedly enhanced rate of insulinstimulated glucose uptake by 19 days, with evidence of a large and variable insulin response to i.p. glucose. Survival was 22 ± 2 days, and resected RINm5F cell tumours exhibited weak immunostaining for insulin in scattered cells, with strands of fibrous tissue separating clusters of tumour cells many of which had distinct polarity. There was no detectable immunostaining for glucagon, somatostatin or pancreatic polypeptide. The insulin content and insulin secretory output of RINm5F cells re-established in culture after 20, 146, 259 or 308 days propagation in vivo were generally enhanced compared with non-passaged RINm5F cells. The magnitude of the effect was not appreciably affected by the duration of maintenance in vivo, but it was critically dependent upon the subsequent period of culture in vitro. Thus, whereas 2-day cultured RINm5F cells from the eighth tumour passage exhibited a greater than 100–fold increment of insulin content and release, with enhanced secretory responsiveness to leucine, arginine, theophylline, K + (25 mmol/l) or Ca2+ (7·6 mmol/l), RINm5F cells cultured for a further 19 days had almost completely lost the attributes resulting from 259 days of maintenance in vivo. The results indicate substantial enhancement of the functional capabilities of RINm5F cells in vivo, and suggest that the resulting tumours afford a novel model in NEDH rats of responsive trabecular-type insulinomas.

J. Endocr. (1988) 118, 429–437

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C. J. Bailey, J. M. Conlon, and P. R. Flatt

ABSTRACT

Immunoreactive somatostatin and substance P were determined in extracts of alimentary tract (stomach to colon) from the following groups of adult female mice: intact control, ovariectomized, ovariectomized and treated with oestradiol (50 μg/kg per day) and/or progesterone (2 mg/kg per day) for 30 days, 19-day-pregnant, and 10-day-postpartum lactating. Ovariectomy increased the somatostatin concentration of the stomach (by 52%, P < 0·05), jejunum (by 116%, P < 0·01) and caecum (by 114%, P < 0·01). These effects were partially or totally prevented by the oestradiol and progesterone treatments, especially the oestradiol-progesterone combination, except for an increase (by 126%, P < 0·01) in gastric somatostatin after treatment with oestradiol alone. Lactation also increased gastric somatostatin (by 108%, P < 0·001), but the somatostatin concentration of other regions of the alimentary tract (jejunum to colon) was reduced (by 21–55%, P < 0·05) in pregnant and lactating mice. The concentration of substance P was increased by ovariectomy in stomach (by 69%, P < 0·01), duodenum (by 84%, P < 0·05), ileum (by 163%, P < 0·001) and caecum (by 57%, P < 0·01). This effect was partially or totally prevented by treatment with progesterone alone and by the oestradiol-progesterone combination, but not by oestradiol alone. Pregnancy and lactation increased gastric substance P by 46% (P < 0·01) and 61% (P < 0·001) respectively, but substance P concentrations in other regions of the alimentary tract were not significantly altered. The results suggest that ovarian oestrogens and progestogens are important in the maintenance of normal concentrations of somatostatin and substance P in the gastrointestinal tract of female mice.

Journal of Endocrinology (1989) 122, 645–650

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P. R. Flatt, C. J. Bailey, and K. D. Buchanan

This study examines the role of glucagon in the pathogenesis of the obese hyperglycaemic (ob/ob) syndrome in mice. Plasma C-terminal immunoreactive glucagon concentrations were measured in fed and fasted ob/ob mice at different ages between 5–40 weeks, and in 20-week-old mice after the administration of established stimulators and inhibitors of glucagon secretion. Plasma glucagon concentrations were inappropriately raised irrespective of age, nutritional status and the accompanying prominent changes in plasma glucose and insulin concentrations. Glucose suppressed plasma glucagon in the fed but not the fasted state, suggesting a dependence on the marked hyperinsulinaemia associated with feeding. Administration of 0·25 units insulin/kg to fasted mice failed to affect plasma glucagon and glucose concentrations. Increasing the dose to 100 units/kg restored the normal suppressive actions of insulin. Fasted mice showed an exaggerated glucagon response to arginine but not to the parasympathomimetic agent pilocarpine. Fed mice displayed normal plasma glucagon responses to the sympathomimetic agents noradrenaline and adrenaline. Administration of insulin antiserum or 2-deoxy-l-glucose raised plasma glucagon concentrations of fed mice. Contrary to the lack of suppression by glucose in the fasted state, heparin-induced increase in free fatty acids reduced plasma glucagon concentrations. This study demonstrates inappropriate hyperglucagonaemia and defective A-cell function in ob/ob mice. The extent of the abnormality is exacerbated by fasting and appears to result from insensitivity of the A-cell to the normal suppressive action of insulin.

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N H McClenaghan, C R Barnett, F P M O'Harte, and P R Flatt

Abstract

The effects of different classes of amino acids known to be transported and utilized by pancreatic B-cells were examined using the novel glucose-responsive pancreatic B-cell line, BRIN-BD11. Amino acids tested included α-aminoisobutyric acid, l-alanine, l-arginine, l-glutamine, glycine, l-leucine, l-lysine, l-proline and l-serine. At non-stimulatory (1·1 mmol/l) glucose, acute incubations with either 1 or 10 mmol/l amino acid evoked 1·3- to 4·7-fold increases of insulin release. Raising glucose to 16·7 mmol/l enhanced the effects of all amino acids except l-glutamine, and increased insulin output at 10 mmol/l compared with 1 mmol/l amino acid. Glyceraldehyde (10 mmol/l) also served to promote 10 mmol/l amino acid-induced insulin secretion with the exceptions of l-arginine, glycine, l-lysine and l-proline. At 16·7 mmol/l glucose, diazoxide (300 μmol/l) significantly decreased the secretory response to all amino acids except l-glutamine. Likewise, verapamil (20 μmol/l) or depletion of extracellular Ca2+ reduced insulin output indicating the importance of Ca2+ influx in the actions of amino acids. These data indicate that BRIN-BD11 cells transport and utilize amino acids, acting in association with glycolysis, K+-ATP channels and/or voltage-dependent Ca2+ channels to promote Ca2+ influx and insulin secretion. The response of BRIN-BD11 cells to glucose and amino acids indicates that this is a useful cell line for future research on the mechanisms of nutrient regulation of insulin secretion.

Journal of Endocrinology (1996) 151, 349–357

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Y H A Abdel-Wahab, F P M O'Harte, C R Barnett, and P R Flatt

Abstract

Characteristics of cellular insulin glycation were examined in the pancreatic B-cell line, BRIN-BD11. The extent of insulin glycation increased stepwise during 72 h of culture at 5·6–33·3 mmol/l glucose, attaining levels up to 27%. Glycation of insulin at 33·3 mmol/l glucose was rapid, reaching maximal values within 2 h, and not readily reversible during 2 to 24 h of subsequent exposure to 5·6 mmol/l glucose. Glycated insulin was readily secreted by BRIN-BD11 cells upon active stimulation with glucose and other secretagogues. Cellular insulin glycation was decreased by 66–80% by inhibitors of protein glycation, vitamin C, aminoguanidine or acetylsalicylic acid. Modulation of insulin-secretory activity of BRIN-BD11 cells by co-culture at high glucose with diazoxide, l-alanine or glibenclamide indicated that long-term stimulation of secretion was associated with a decrease in the extent of insulin glycation. Glycation of insulin in vitro was substantially less extensive than in BRIN-BD11 cells, although glucose-6-phosphate and glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate were 1·4- to 2·0-fold more reactive than glucose per se. These observations indicate that insulin is readily glycated and secreted from insulin-secreting cells under hyperglycaemic conditions in culture.

Journal of Endocrinology (1997) 152, 59–67

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P. R. Flatt, C. J. Bailey, P. Kwasowski, T. Page, and V. Marks

ABSTRACT

Gastric inhibitory polypeptide (GIP), a recognized component of the enteroinsular axis, is raised in the plasma and intestine of obese hyperglycaemic (ob/ob) mice. To evaluate the control of plasma GIP and its role in the hyperinsulinaemia of the ob/ob syndrome, GIP and insulin were determined at different ages in fed mice, and at 10–12 weeks of age after fasting/refeeding and administration of GIP, different nutrients and insulin to mice fasted for 18 h. Plasma GIP and insulin were raised in adult (10- and 20-week-old) compared with younger (3- and 5-week-old) mice, although GIP was not increased in the presence of hyperinsulinaemia at 3 weeks of age. Fasting suppressed and refeeding promptly restored plasma GIP and insulin concentrations. Administration of GIP to mimic postprandial concentrations evoked a marked but transient insulin response which was protracted in the presence of rising hyperglycaemia. Orally administered fat, glucose and amino acids raised GIP concentrations with fat having a particularly strong effect. Glucose and amino acids also evoked prominent increases of insulin, but fat produced only a small rise in insulin in the absence of increasing glucose concentrations. Consistent with glucose-potentiation, a mixture of all three nutrients greatly augmented the insulin response without further increase of plasma GIP. Glucose-induced increase in endogenous insulin and doses of exogenous insulin up to 100 units/kg did not suppress basal, fat-stimulated or glucose-stimulated GIP release. The results indicate that raised GIP concentrations make an important contribution to the hyperinsulinaemia and related metabolic abnormalities of the ob/ob syndrome.

J. Endocr. (1984) 101, 249–256

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S Patterson, P R Flatt, L Brennan, P Newsholme, and N H McClenaghan

Elevated plasma homocysteine has been reported in individuals with diseases of the metabolic syndrome including vascular disease and insulin resistance. As homocysteine exerts detrimental effects on endothelial and neuronal cells, this study investigated effects of acute homocysteine exposure on β-cell function and insulin secretion using clonal BRIN-BD11 β-cells. Acute insulin release studies in the presence of various test reagents were performed using monolayers of BRIN-BD11 cells and samples assayed by insulin radioimmunoassay. Cellular glucose metabolism was assessed by nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) analysis following 60-min exposure of BRIN-BD11 cell monolayers to glucose in either the absence or presence of homocysteine. Homocysteine dose-dependently inhibited insulin release at moderate and stimulatory glucose concentrations. This inhibitory effect was reversible at all but the highest concentration of homocysteine. 13C-glucose NMR demonstrated decreased labelling of glutamate from glucose at positions C2, C3 and C4, indicating that the tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle-dependent glucose metabolism was reduced in the presence of homocysteine. Homocysteine also dose-dependently inhibited insulinotropic responses to a range of glucose-dependent secretagogues including nutrients (alanine, arginine, 2-ketoisocaproate), hormones (glucagon-like peptide-1 (7–36)amide, gastric inhibitory polypeptide and cholecystokinin-8), neurotransmitter (carbachol), drug (tolbutamide) as well as a depolarising concentration of KCl or elevated Ca2+. Insulin secretion induced by activation of adenylate cyclase and protein kinase C pathways with forskolin and phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate were also inhibited by homocysteine. These effects were not associated with any adverse action on cellular insulin content or cell viability, and there was no increase in apoptosis/necrosis following exposure to homocysteine. These data indicate that homocysteine impairs insulin secretion through alterations in β-cell glucose metabolism and generation of key stimulus-secretion coupling factors. The participation of homocysteine in possible β-cell demise merits further investigation.

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N H McClenaghan, C R Barnett, F P M O'Harte, S K Swanston-Flatt, E Ah-Sing, and P R Flatt

Abstract

Two hybrid insulin-secreting cell lines (BRIN-BG5 and BRIN-BG7) were established by the novel approach of electrofusing RINm5F cells with New England Deaconess Hospital rat pancreatic islet cells. Cells were selected from the fusion mixture on the basis of insulin output. Wells showing five to ten times greater insulin output than parental RINm5F cells were selected, subcultured and cloned. Clonal BRIN-BG5 and BRIN-G7 cells grow as monolayers with epithelial morphology. The differences in doubling time of 28 and 20 h respectively were associated with morphological differences; the growth pattern and insulin content of each cell line remaining stable for over 50 passages. In acute 20-min tests, both cell lines showed peak secretory responses (1·9- and 1·8-fold respectively) to 8·4 mmol/l glucose. Membrane depolarization with 25 mmol/l K+ evoked 3·7- and 3·9-fold increases in insulin output. l-Alanine (10 mmol/l) also served to promote 2·4- and 1·6-fold increases in insulin release respectively. Increasing the Ca2+ concentration from 1·28 to 7·68 mmol/l potentiated this effect by 1·8- and 1·5-fold. Incubation with forskolin (25 μmol/l) or phorbol-12-myristate 13-acetate (10 nmol/l), in the presence of l-alanine, similarly enhanced the secretory effect on BRIN-BG5 and BRIN-BG7 cells by 1·3- to 2·1-fold and 1·2- to 1·5-fold respectively. The presence of a functional glucose-sensing mechanism in both cell lines was confirmed by the demonstration of the glucose transporter GLUT-2 and measurement of glucokinase activity. These functional properties suggest that insulin-secreting BRIN-BG5 and BRIN-BG7 cells represent two useful glucoseresponsive cell lines for future studies of the function of the pancreatic B-cell.

Journal of Endocrinology (1996) 148, 409–417

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C. J. Bailey, L. C. Wilkes, P. R. Flatt, J. M. Conlon, and K. D. Buchanan

ABSTRACT

The effect of synthetic human growth hormone-releasing hormone(1–40) (hGHRH-40) on the function of the endocrine pancreas and on glucose homeostasis in lean and genetically obese-diabetic (ob/ob) mice and normal rats has been examined. The addition of 1 μmol hGHRH-40/1 to incubated islets from normal lean mice increased insulin release by 90 and 37% at 5·6 and 16·7 mmol glucose/l respectively. Lower concentrations of hGHRH-40 did not affect insulin release. hGHRH-40 (1 μmol/l) increased pancreatic polypeptide release by 50% at 5·6 mmol glucose/l. A range of concentrations of hGHRH-40 (1 nmol/l–1 μmol/l) reduced glucagon release by 42–73% at 5·6 mmol glucose/l, and by 38–70% at 16·7 mmol glucose/l. Somatostatin release was increased (eightfold) by 1 μmol hGHRH-40/1 at 5·6 mmol glucose/l, but at 1 nmol hGHRH-40/l somatostatin release was reduced (by > 50%). At 16·7 mmol glucose/litre 0·01–1 μmol hGHRH-40/l increased somatostatin release (three- to fourfold), but 1 nmol hGHRH-40/l produced a reduction of 50%. In vivo, administration of hGHRH-40 (50 μg/kg body weight i.p.) to fasted lean and ob/ob mice did not alter basal plasma concentrations of glucose and insulin, or the glucose and insulin responses to a concomitant i.p. glucose challenge. Intravenous injection of hGHRH-40 (20 μg/kg body weight) to anaesthetized rats increased plasma concentrations of insulin in the hepatic portal vein. A lower dose of hGHRH-40 (0·2 μg/kg) was ineffective, and neither dose of hGHRH-40 altered plasma glucose. The results indicate that hGHRH-40 exerts dose-dependent effects on the secretion of islet hormones, but this does not appear to be sufficient to produce measurable effects on plasma glucose homeostasis.

Journal of Endocrinology (1989) 123, 19–24

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Nigel Irwin, Pamela Frizelle, Finbarr P M O'Harte, and Peter R Flatt

Cholecystokinin (CCK) is a hormone that has important physiological effects on energy balance. This study has used a stable CCK1 receptor agonist, (pGlu-Gln)-CCK-8, to evaluate the metabolic effects of prolonged administration in normal mice. Twice-daily injection of (pGlu-Gln)-CCK-8 for 28 days resulted in significantly lowered body weights (P<0.05) on days 24 and 28, which was associated with decreased accumulated calorie intake (P<0.01) from day 12 onward. Nonfasting plasma glucose was significantly reduced (P<0.05) on day 28, while plasma insulin concentrations were increased (P<0.05). After 28 days, glucose tolerance and glucose-mediated insulin secretion were not significantly different in (pGlu-Gln)-CCK-8-treated mice. However, following a 15-min refeeding period in 18-h fasted mice, glucose levels were significantly (P<0.05) decreased by (pGlu-Gln)-CCK-8 despite similar food intake and nutrient-induced insulin levels. Insulin sensitivity in (pGlu-Gln)-CCK-8-treated mice was significantly (P<0.01) improved compared with controls. Accumulation of triacylglycerol in liver was reduced (P<0.01) but there were no differences in circulating cholesterol and triacylglycerol concentrations, as well as triacylglycerol content of pancreatic, muscle, and adipose tissue in (pGlu-Gln)-CCK-8 mice. These data highlight the beneficial metabolic effects of prolonged (pGlu-Gln)-CCK-8 administration and confirm a lack of detrimental effects.