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Formycin A augments insulin release evoked by glucose (5.6 mm or more), this effect not being rapidly reversible. The mechanism responsible for the insulinotropic action of formycin A was investigated in isolated pancreatic islets. It could not be ascribed to facilitation of glucose metabolism. On the contrary, formycin A inhibited glucose oxidation, lowered ATP content, and impaired glucose-stimulated protein biosynthesis. The insulinotropic action of formycin A was apparently attributable to its conversion to formycin A 5'-triphosphate, both this process and the secretory response to formycin A being abolished by the inhibitor of adenosine kinase 5-iodotubercidin. In agreement with the latter view, adenosine receptor antagonists such as 8-cyclopentyl-1, 3-dipropylxanthine and 3,7-dimethyl-1-propargylxanthine failed to suppress and, instead, augmented the insulinotropic action of formycin A. Unexpectedly, however, formycin A failed to decrease 86Rb efflux, this coinciding with a low efficiency of formycin A 5'-triphosphate to inhibit KATP-channel activity in excised membranes and with the fact that formycin A increased gliben-clamide-stimulated insulin release. The secretory response to formycin A represented a Ca2+-dependent process suppressed in the absence of extracellular Ca2+ or presence of verapamil and associated with an increased net uptake of 45Ca. Nevertheless, the view that formycin A exerts any major effect upon intracellular Ca2+ redistribution, protein kinase C activity, or cyclic AMP net production also met with objections such as the minor secretory effect of formycin A in islets exposed to a high concentration of K+ in the presence of a diazoxide analog, the resistance of formycin A insulinotropic action to bisindolylmaleimide, the poor increase of cyclic AMP content in formycin A-stimulated islets, and the pronounced enhancement by forskolin or theophylline of insulin release from islets exposed to formycin A. It is concluded, therefore, that the mechanism of action of formycin A in the pancreatic beta-cell remains to be elucidated.


Journal article


Biochem Mol Med

Publication Date





47 - 63


Adenosine, Animals, Calcium, Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2, Diazoxide, Female, Formycins, Glucose, Glyburide, In Vitro Techniques, Insulin, Insulin Secretion, Islets of Langerhans, Rats, Ribonucleotides, Tubercidin, Verapamil, Xanthines