Cyclic AMP dynamics in the pancreatic β-cell

Ups J Med Sci. 2012 Nov;117(4):355-69. doi: 10.3109/03009734.2012.724732. Epub 2012 Sep 13.


Insulin secretion from pancreatic β-cells is tightly regulated by glucose and other nutrients, hormones, and neural factors. The exocytosis of insulin granules is triggered by an elevation of the cytoplasmic Ca(2+) concentration ([Ca(2+)](i)) and is further amplified by cyclic AMP (cAMP). Cyclic AMP is formed primarily in response to glucoincretin hormones and other G(s)-coupled receptor agonists, but generation of the nucleotide is critical also for an optimal insulin secretory response to glucose. Nutrient and receptor stimuli trigger oscillations of the cAMP concentration in β-cells. The oscillations arise from variations in adenylyl cyclase-mediated cAMP production and phosphodiesterase-mediated degradation, processes controlled by factors like cell metabolism and [Ca(2+)](i). Protein kinase A and the guanine nucleotide exchange factor Epac2 mediate the actions of cAMP in β-cells and operate at multiple levels to promote exocytosis and pulsatile insulin secretion. The cAMP signaling system contains important targets for pharmacological improvement of insulin secretion in type 2 diabetes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adenylyl Cyclases / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Cyclic AMP / metabolism*
  • Cyclic AMP-Dependent Protein Kinases / metabolism
  • Glucose / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Insulin / metabolism
  • Insulin Secretion
  • Islets of Langerhans / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction


  • Insulin
  • Cyclic AMP
  • Cyclic AMP-Dependent Protein Kinases
  • Adenylyl Cyclases
  • Glucose