The pancreatic B-cell may represent a fuel-sensor organ, the release of insulin evoked by nutrient secretagogues being attributable to an increased oxidation of exogenous and/or endogenous substrates. The participation of endogenous fatty acids in the secretory response of isolated rat pancreatic islets was investigated. Methyl palmoxirate (McN-3716, 0.1 mM), an inhibitor of long-chain-fatty-acid oxidation, suppressed the oxidation of exogenous [U-14C]palmitate and inhibited 14CO2 output from islets prelabelled with [U-14C]palmitate. Methyl palmoxirate failed to affect the oxidation of exogenous D-[U-14C]glucose or L-[U-14C]glutamine, the production of NH4+ and the output of 14CO2 from islets prelabelled with L-[U-14C]glutamine. In the absence of exogenous nutrient and after a lag period of about 60 min, methyl palmoxirate decreased O2 uptake to 69% of the control value. Methyl palmoxirate inhibited insulin release evoked by D-glucose, D-glyceraldehyde, 2-oxoisohexanoate, L-leucine, 2-aminobicyclo[2.2.1]heptane-2-carboxylate or 3-phenylpyruvate. However, methyl palmoxirate failed to affect insulin release when the oxidation of endogenous fatty acids was already suppressed, e.g. in the presence of pyruvate or L-glutamine. These findings support the view that insulin release evoked by nutrient secretagogues tightly depends on the overall rate of nutrient oxidation, including that of endogenous fatty acids.

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