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Somatostatin secretion from pancreatic islet δ-cells is stimulated by elevated glucose levels, but the underlying mechanisms have only partially been elucidated. Here we show that glucose-induced somatostatin secretion (GISS) involves both membrane potential-dependent and -independent pathways. Although glucose-induced electrical activity triggers somatostatin release, the sugar also stimulates GISS via a cAMP-dependent stimulation of CICR and exocytosis of somatostatin. The latter effect is more quantitatively important and in mouse islets depolarized by 70 mM extracellular K+, increasing glucose from 1 mM to 20 mM produced an ∼3.5-fold stimulation of somatostatin secretion, an effect that was mimicked by the application of the adenylyl cyclase activator forskolin. Inhibiting cAMP-dependent pathways with PKI or ESI-05, which inhibit PKA and exchange protein directly activated by cAMP 2 (Epac2), respectively, reduced glucose/forskolin-induced somatostatin secretion. Ryanodine produced a similar effect that was not additive to that of the PKA or Epac2 inhibitors. Intracellular application of cAMP produced a concentration-dependent stimulation of somatostatin exocytosis and elevation of cytoplasmic Ca2+ ([Ca2+]i). Both effects were inhibited by ESI-05 and thapsigargin (an inhibitor of SERCA). By contrast, inhibition of PKA suppressed δ-cell exocytosis without affecting [Ca2+]i Simultaneous recordings of electrical activity and [Ca2+]i in δ-cells expressing the genetically encoded Ca2+ indicator GCaMP3 revealed that the majority of glucose-induced [Ca2+]i spikes did not correlate with δ-cell electrical activity but instead reflected Ca2+ release from the ER. These spontaneous [Ca2+]i spikes are resistant to PKI but sensitive to ESI-05 or thapsigargin. We propose that cAMP links an increase in plasma glucose to stimulation of somatostatin secretion by promoting CICR, thus evoking exocytosis of somatostatin-containing secretory vesicles in the δ-cell.

Original publication




Journal article


J Gen Physiol

Publication Date





1094 - 1115