Effect of nutrients, hormones and serum on survival of rat islet beta cells in culture

Diabetologia. 1994 Jan;37(1):15-21. doi: 10.1007/BF00428772.


This study quantifies the survival of purified single rat beta cells under different culture conditions. Less than 10% of the cells survive 9 days of culture in Ham's F10 medium without supplements. Addition of fetal calf serum (5%) increases cell survival to 54% in the absence and to 78% in the presence of isobutylmethylxanthine (50 mumol/I). The effect of serum is explained, at least partly, by the presence of albumin and of low molecular weight constituents. In serum-free Ham's F10 with 50 mumol/l isobutylmethylxanthine, 75% of cells survive after the addition of bovine serum albumin (1%) and of ultroser (0.2%), a commercial serum substitute. Survival of at least 75% of cells is also maintained in Ham's F10 with isobutylmethylxanthine plus albumin, and supplemented by metabolizable nutrients or by the peptides glucagon (10(-8) mol/l) or growth hormone (1 micrograms/ml) plus insulin like growth factor-I (50 ng/ml). D-Glucose increases beta-cell survival in a dose-dependent manner up to 10 mmol/l; a beneficial effect is also observed with other metabolizable compounds (leucine and glutamine) but not with non-metabolizable monosaccharides. Glucose-induced survival of islet beta cells can be attributed to its dose-dependent recruitment of cells into metabolic activities; however, a 9-day exposure to excessively high nutrient concentrations (> 20 mmol/l glucose) is deleterious to the cells. These results define culture media, with or without serum, wherein at least 75% of single rat islet beta cells can survive for a minimum of 9 days. This will allow for studies on beta-cell toxic conditions and potentially protective agents.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 1-Methyl-3-isobutylxanthine / pharmacology
  • Animals
  • Blood
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Cell Survival / physiology*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Culture Media
  • Culture Media, Serum-Free
  • Glucagon / pharmacology
  • Glucose / pharmacology
  • Glutamine / pharmacology
  • Growth Hormone / pharmacology
  • Hormones / pharmacology*
  • Insulin / metabolism
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I / pharmacology
  • Islets of Langerhans / cytology*
  • Islets of Langerhans / drug effects
  • Islets of Langerhans / metabolism
  • Leucine / pharmacology
  • Male
  • Monosaccharides / pharmacology
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Serum Albumin, Bovine / pharmacology


  • Culture Media
  • Culture Media, Serum-Free
  • Hormones
  • Insulin
  • Monosaccharides
  • Glutamine
  • Serum Albumin, Bovine
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I
  • Growth Hormone
  • Glucagon
  • Leucine
  • Glucose
  • 1-Methyl-3-isobutylxanthine