Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

We have investigated the in vitro effects of the saturated free fatty acid palmitate on mouse pancreatic beta-cells by a combination of electrophysiological recordings, intracellular Ca(2+) ([Ca(2+)](i)) microfluorimetry and insulin release measurements. Addition of palmitate (1 mm, bound to fatty acid-free albumin) to intact islets exposed to 15 mm glucose increased the [Ca(2+)](i) by approximately 30% and insulin secretion 2-fold. Palmitate remained capable of increasing [Ca(2+)](i) and insulin release in the presence of tolbutamide and in islets depolarized by high K(+) in combination with diazoxide, indicating that the stimulation occurs independently of closure of ATP-regulated K(+) channels (K(ATP) channels). Palmitate (0.5 mm) augmented exocytosis (measured as an increase in cell capacitance) in single beta-cells and increased the size of the readily releasable pool (RRP) of granules 2-fold. Whole-cell peak Ca(2+) currents rose by approximately 25% following addition of 0.5 mm palmitate, an effect that was abolished in the presence of 10 microm isradipine indicating that the free fatty acid specifically acts on L-type Ca(2+) channels. The actions of palmitate on exocytosis and Ca(2+) currents were not mimicked by intracellular application of palmitoyl-CoA. We conclude that palmitate increases insulin secretion by a K(ATP) channel-independent mechanism exerted at the level of exocytosis and that involves both augmentation of L-type Ca(2+) currents and an increased size of the RRP.

Original publication




Journal article


J Physiol

Publication Date





935 - 948


ATP-Binding Cassette Transporters, Animals, Calcium, Calcium Channels, L-Type, Cell Polarity, Cell Separation, Cell Size, Cyclic AMP, Cytoplasmic Granules, Electrophysiology, Exocytosis, Female, Glucose, Insulin, Islets of Langerhans, KATP Channels, Membrane Potentials, Mice, Palmitates, Palmitoyl Coenzyme A, Patch-Clamp Techniques, Potassium Channels, Potassium Channels, Inwardly Rectifying, Serum Albumin, Bovine