Islet somatostatin--microvascular, paracrine, and pulsatile regulation

Metabolism. 1990 Sep;39(9 Suppl 2):55-60. doi: 10.1016/0026-0495(90)90212-u.


The possible role of the D cell in the regulation of islet hormone secretion has been controversial for many years. It is known that the D cells characteristically reside in the islet mantle interspaced among A cells. We have shown by the anterograde and retrograde infusion of antibody directed against insulin, glucagon, or somatostatin into the isolated rat and dog pancreas that blood flow within the islet is from the B-cell core outward to the mantle. Despite the apparent randomness of the A and D cell in the mantle, our results indicate a further suborder of cellular perfusion in the mantle with the A cells perfused before the D cells. The D cells are last in line in terms of secretion. Thus the D cell is vascularly neutral and cannot directly effect A- or B-cell secretion through the intra-islet vasculature. Our results demonstrate that the B to A to D cellular order of perfusion is responsible for the regulation of islet hormone secretion, ie, insulin regulates the secretion of glucagon and glucagon (and probably insulin) regulate the secretion of somatostatin. Although each hormone is secreted as pulses, there does not appear to be a consistent phase relationship between insulin, glucagon, or somatostatin. The B to A to D cellular order of perfusion is responsible for net and integrated hormone secretion, but may not be the motive force of pulsatile secretion. Our studies have not documented a role for intra-islet mantle somatostatin. These results strongly suggest that the D cell is not a paracrine regulator of islet hormone secretion, but may be important in the regulation of exocrine function.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Islets of Langerhans / blood supply
  • Islets of Langerhans / physiology*
  • Microcirculation / physiology
  • Pancreatic Hormones / metabolism*
  • Pancreatic Hormones / physiology
  • Receptors, Neurotransmitter / physiology*
  • Receptors, Somatostatin
  • Somatostatin / metabolism*


  • Pancreatic Hormones
  • Receptors, Neurotransmitter
  • Receptors, Somatostatin
  • Somatostatin