In isolated rat islets the α2-adrenergic antagonist phenoxybenzamine was found to be only partially effective at relieving the inhibition of glucose-induced insulin secretion mediated by noradrenaline. Further experiment revealed a direct inhibitory effects of phenoxybenzamine itself on the secretory response to glucose. At concentrations above 1 μM the antagonist inhibited insulin secretion in a dose-dependent manner, with greater than 50% inhibition at 50 μM. The inhibition of secretion developed rapidly in perifused islets, and was not altered when islets were also incubated with idazoxan or benextramine, suggesting that it did not reflect binding of phenoxybenzamine to the α2-receptor. Paradoxically phenoxybenzamine significantly increased the basal secretion rate in the presence of 4 mM glucose. The results demonstrate that phenoxybenzamine can exert direct effects on insulin secretion which are unrelated to its α-antagonist properties.

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