Author(s): FernndezPascual S, MukalaNsenguTshibangu A, Martn Del Ro R, TamaritRodrguez J
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Abstract We have carried out a detailed examination of L-glutamine metabolism in rat islets in order to elucidate the paradoxical failure of L-glutamine to stimulate insulin secretion. L-Glutamine was converted by isolated islets into GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid), L-aspartate and L-glutamate. Saturation of the intracellular concentrations of all of these amino acids occurred at approx. 10 mmol/l L-glutamine, and their half-maximal values were attained at progressively increasing concentrations of L-glutamine (0.3 mmol/l for GABA; 0.5 and 1.0 mmol/l for Asp and Glu respectively). GABA accumulation accounted for most of the 14CO2 produced at various L-[U-14C]glutamine concentrations. Potentiation by L-glutamine of L-leucine-induced insulin secretion in perifused islets was suppressed by malonic acid dimethyl ester, was accompanied by a significant decrease in islet GABA accumulation, and was not modified in the presence of GABA receptor antagonists [50 micromol/l saclofen or 10 micromol/l (+)-bicuculline]. L-Leucine activated islet glutamate dehydrogenase activity, but had no effect on either glutamate decarboxylase or GABA transaminase activity, in islet homogenates. We conclude that (i) L-glutamine is metabolized preferentially to GABA and L-aspartate, which accumulate in islets, thus preventing its complete oxidation in the Krebs cycle, which accounts for its failure to stimulate insulin secretion; (ii) potentiation by L-glutamine of L-leucine-induced insulin secretion involves increased metabolism of L-glutamate and GABA via the Krebs cycle (glutamate dehydrogenase activation) and the GABA shunt (2-oxoglutarate availability for GABA transaminase) respectively, and (iii) islet release of GABA does not seem to play an important role in the modulation of the islet secretory response to the combination of L-leucine and L-glutamine.
This article was published in Biochem J
and referenced in Journal of Molecular Biomarkers & Diagnosis