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Galanin is a 29 amino acid peptide, initially isolated from the porcine small intestine. The peptide has been shown to occur in intrapancreatic nerves in close association to the islets. Its effects on islet hormone secretion and its possible mechanisms behind these effects are reviewed. Galanin has been shown to inhibit basal and stimulated insulin secretion both in vivo and in vitro under a variety of experimental conditions. The peptide has also been shown to inhibit somatostatin secretion and the secretion of pancreatic polypeptide (PP). With regard to glucagon secretion, however, results in the literature are not consistent since both stimulatory and inhibitory effects have been reported. A direct interaction with the pancreatic beta-cells has been proposed behind its inhibitory action on insulin secretion, since galanin inhibits insulin secretion from isolated beta-cells from obese, hyperglycaemic, mice. Galanin has thereby also been shown to induce repolarization and to reduce the free Ca2+ concentration, [Ca2+]i. The reduction in [Ca2+]i is probably not due to a direct interference with the voltage-activated Ca2+ channels, since there is no effect of galanin when these channels are opened by depolarization induced by high concentrations of K+. Instead, preliminary studies indicate that galanin activates the K+ channels that are regulated by ATP, in turn inducing a repolarization-induced reduction in [Ca2+]i resulting in reduced insulin secretion. However, the possibility that galanin inhibits the insulin secretory mechanism at a step distal to the regulation of cytoplasmic free Ca2+ concentration should not be overlooked.


Journal article



Publication Date





233 - 237


Animals, Galanin, Glucagon, Humans, Insulin, Insulin Secretion, Islets of Langerhans, Pancreatic Polypeptide, Peptides, Somatostatin, Swine