The role of reduced glucose transporter content and glucose metabolism in the immature secretory responses of fetal rat pancreatic islets

Diabetologia. 1994 Feb;37(2):134-40. doi: 10.1007/s001250050083.


Isolated fetal islets show an immature or poor secretory response to nutrient secretagogues which may result from impaired mitochondrial oxidative processes. Insulin secretion, glucose metabolism and detection of metabolic enzymes by radiolabelling and immunoprecipitation were compared in islets isolated from neonatal (aged 5 days) and fetal rats (at 20 days gestation). The insulin secretory dynamics of fetal islets were abnormal in response to stimulation by glucose (10 mmol/l); a rapid release of insulin reaching a maximum 6 min after stimulation was observed with no rising second phase release. However, when the data were expressed as percentage of islet insulin content released, fetal islets released significantly more insulin than neonatal islets in response to glucose (4.86 +/- 0.45% vs 1.81 +/- 0.62%, p < 0.01) or 100 nmol/l glibenclamide (2.49 +/- 0.17% vs 0.25 +/- 0.06%, p < 0.001). Fetal islets however, failed to release insulin in response to stimulation by glyceraldehyde (10 mmol/l) unlike neonatal islets. Both glucose utilisation (as measured by the formation of [3H] H2O from 5-[3H] glucose) and glucose oxidation (as measured by the formation of [14C] CO2 from U-[14C] glucose) did not increase significantly in response to increasing the medium glucose concentration to 10 mmol/l whereas in neonatal islets, glucose utilisation and glucose oxidation were significantly increased 2.5- and 2.7-fold, respectively. When islets were incubated with both radiolabelled glucoses simultaneously, the rate of glucose oxidation was shown to be directly proportional to the rate of glucose utilisation. The relationship between glucose utilisation and glucose oxidation was similar in fetal and neonatal islets.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Electrophoresis, Polyacrylamide Gel
  • Female
  • Fetus
  • Glucose / metabolism*
  • Glucose Transporter Type 2
  • Glycolysis
  • Insulin / metabolism*
  • Insulin Secretion
  • Islets of Langerhans / embryology
  • Islets of Langerhans / metabolism*
  • Methionine / metabolism
  • Molecular Weight
  • Monosaccharide Transport Proteins / biosynthesis
  • Monosaccharide Transport Proteins / isolation & purification
  • Monosaccharide Transport Proteins / metabolism*
  • Pregnancy
  • Protein Biosynthesis
  • Proteins / isolation & purification
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley


  • Glucose Transporter Type 2
  • Insulin
  • Monosaccharide Transport Proteins
  • Proteins
  • Methionine
  • Glucose