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We have investigated the regulation of hormone secretion from rat pancreatic islets by the GABAB receptors (GABABRs). Inclusion of the specific GABABR antagonist CGP 55845 in the extracellular medium increased glucose-stimulated insulin secretion 1.6-fold but did not affect the release of glucagon and somatostatin. Conversely, addition of the GABABR agonist baclofen inhibited glucose-stimulated insulin secretion by approximately 60%. Using RT-PCR, transcription of GABABR1a-c,f and GABABR2 subunits was detected in beta-cells. Measurements of membrane currents and cell capacitance were applied to single beta-cells to investigate the mechanisms by which GABABR activation inhibits insulin secretion. In perforated-patch measurements, baclofen inhibited exocytosis elicited by 500-ms voltage-clamp depolarizations to 0 mV by < or = 80% and voltage-gated Ca2+ entry by only approximately 30%. Both effects were concentration-dependent with IC50 values of approximately 2 microm. The inhibitory action of baclofen was abolished in the presence of CGP 55845. The ability of baclofen to suppress exocytosis was prevented by pre-treatment with pertussis toxin and by inclusion of GDPbetaS in the intracellular medium, and became irreversible in the presence of GTPgammaS as expected for a process involving inhibitory G-proteins (Gi/o-proteins). The inhibitory effect of baclofen resulted from activation of the serine/threonine protein phosphatase calcineurin and pre-treatment with cyclosporin A or intracellular application of calcineurin autoinhibitory peptide abolished the effect. Addition of baclofen had no effect on [Ca2+]i and electrical activity in glucose-stimulated beta-cells. These data indicate that GABA released from beta-cells functions as an autocrine inhibitor of insulin secretion in pancreatic islets and that the effect is principally due to direct suppression of exocytosis.

Original publication




Journal article


J Physiol

Publication Date





397 - 409


Animals, Baclofen, Calcineurin, Cells, Cultured, Dose-Response Relationship, Drug, Exocytosis, GABA-B Receptor Agonists, GABA-B Receptor Antagonists, GTP-Binding Proteins, Islets of Langerhans, Rats, Rats, Sprague-Dawley, Rats, Wistar, Receptors, GABA-B