The CB1 antagonist rimonabant decreases insulin hypersecretion in rat pancreatic islets

Obesity (Silver Spring). 2009 Oct;17(10):1856-60. doi: 10.1038/oby.2009.234. Epub 2009 Jul 30.


Type 2 diabetes and obesity are characterized by elevated nocturnal circulating free fatty acids, elevated basal insulin secretion, and blunted glucose-stimulated insulin secretion (GSIS). The CB1 receptor antagonist, Rimonabant, has been shown to improve glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity in vivo but its direct effect on islets has been unclear. Islets from lean littermates and obese Zucker (ZF) and Zucker Diabetic Fatty (ZDF) rats were incubated for 24 h in vitro and exposed to 11 mmol/l glucose and 0.3 mmol/l palmitate (GL) with or without Rimonabant. Insulin secretion was determined at basal (3 mmol/l) or stimulatory (15 mmol/l) glucose concentrations. As expected, basal secretion was significantly elevated in islets from obese or GL-treated lean rats whereas the fold increase in GSIS was diminished. Rimonabant decreased basal hypersecretion in islets from obese rats and GL-treated lean rats without decreasing the fold increase in GSIS. However, it decreased GSIS in islets from lean rats without affecting basal secretion. These findings indicate that Rimonabant has direct effects on islets to reduce insulin secretion when secretion is elevated above normal levels by diet or in obesity. In contrast, it appears to decrease stimulated secretion in islets from lean animals but not in obese or GL-exposed islets.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Glucose / metabolism
  • Insulin / metabolism*
  • Insulin Secretion
  • Islets of Langerhans / drug effects
  • Islets of Langerhans / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Obesity / drug therapy
  • Obesity / physiopathology*
  • Palmitates / metabolism
  • Piperidines / pharmacology*
  • Pyrazoles / pharmacology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Zucker
  • Receptor, Cannabinoid, CB1 / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Rimonabant
  • Secretory Rate / drug effects


  • Insulin
  • Palmitates
  • Piperidines
  • Pyrazoles
  • Receptor, Cannabinoid, CB1
  • Glucose
  • Rimonabant