Glucose-stimulated single pancreatic islets sustain increased cytosolic ATP levels during initial Ca2+ influx and subsequent Ca2+ oscillations [Bioenergetics]

December 3rd, 2013 by Tanaka, T., Nagashima, K., Inagaki, N., Kioka, H., Takashima, S., Fukuoka, H., Noji, H., Kakizuka, A., Imamura, H.

In pancreatic islets, insulin secretion occurs via synchronous elevation of Ca2+ levels throughout the islets during high glucose conditions. This Ca2+ elevation has two phases; a quick increase, observed after the glucose stimulus, followed by prolonged oscillations. In these processes, the elevation of intracellular ATP levels generated from glucose is assumed to inhibit ATP-sensitive K+ channels, leading to the depolarization of membranes, which in turn induces Ca2+ elevation in the islets. However, little is known about the dynamics of intracellular ATP levels and their correlation with Ca2+ levels in the islets in response to changing glucose levels. In this study, a genetically encoded fluorescent biosensor for ATP and a fluorescent Ca2+ dye were employed to simultaneously monitor the dynamics of intracellular ATP and Ca2+ levels, respectively, inside single isolated islets. We observed rapid increases in cytosolic and mitochondrial ATP levels after stimulation with glucose, as well as with methyl pyruvate or leucine/glutamine. High ATP levels were sustained as long as high glucose levels persisted. Inhibition of ATP production suppressed the initial Ca2+ increase, suggesting that enhanced energy metabolism triggers the initial phase of Ca2+ influx. On the other hand, cytosolic ATP levels did not fluctuate significantly with the Ca2+ level in the subsequent oscillation phases. Importantly, Ca2+ oscillations stopped immediately before ATP levels decreased significantly. These results might explain how food or glucose intake evokes insulin secretion, and how the resulting decrease in plasma glucose levels leads to cessation of secretion.
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