1. 3-Phenylpyruvate caused a dose-related stimulation of insulin release from rat pancreatic islets deprived of exogenous nutrient or incubated in the presence of 5.6 or 8.3 mM-D-glucose. 2. 3-Phenylpyruvate inhibited insulin release evoked by high concentrations of D-glucose (16.7 or 27.8 mM) or 4-methyl-2-oxopentanoate (10.0 mM). This inhibitory effect appeared to be attributable to impairment of 2-oxo-acid transport into the mitochondria, with resulting inhibition of D-glucose, pyruvate or 4-methyl-2-oxopentanoate oxidation. 3. 3-Phenylpyruvate failed to affect the oxidation of, and secretory response to, L-leucine, and did not augment insulin release evoked by a non-metabolized analogue of the latter amino acid. 4. L-Glutamine augmented 3-phenylpyruvate-induced insulin release. The release of insulin evoked by the combination of 3-phenylpyruvate and L-glutamine represented a sustained phenomenon, abolished in the absence of extracellular Ca2+ or the presence of menadione and potentiated by theophylline. 5. Whether in the presence or in the absence of L-glutamine, the secretory response to 3-phenylpyruvate coincided with an increase in O2 uptake, a decrease in K+ conductance, a stimulation of both Ca2+ inflow and 45Ca2+ net uptake and an increase in cyclic AMP content. 6. It is concluded that the release of insulin induced by 3-phenylpyruvate displays features classically encountered when the B-cell is stimulated by nutrient secretagogues, and is indeed attributable to an increase in nutrient catabolism.

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