The pancreatic B cell has been used as a model to compare the release of newly synthesized prohormone/hormone with that of stored hormone. Secretion of newly synthesized proinsulin/insulin (labeled with [3H]leucine during a 5-min pulse) and stored total immunoreactive insulin was monitored from isolated rat pancreatic islets at basal and stimulatory glucose concentrations over 180 min. By 180 min, 15% of the islet content of stored insulin was released at 16.7 mM glucose compared with 2% at 2.8 mM glucose. After a 30-min lag period, release of newly synthesized (labeled) proinsulin and insulin was detected; from 60 min onwards this release was stimulated up to 11-fold by 16.7 mM glucose. At 180 min, 60% of the initial islet content of labeled proinsulin was released at 16.7 mM glucose and 6% at 2.8 mM glucose. Specific radioactivity of the released newly synthesized hormone relative to that of material in islets indicated its preferential release. A similar degree of isotopic enrichment of released, labeled products was observed at both glucose concentrations. Quantitative HPLC analysis of labeled products indicated that glucose had no effect on intracellular proinsulin to insulin conversion; release of both newly synthesized proinsulin and insulin was sensitive to glucose stimulation; 90% of the newly synthesized hormone was released as insulin; and only 0.5% of proinsulin was rapidly released (between 30 and 60 min) in a glucose-independent fashion. It is thus concluded that the major portion of released hormone, whether old or new, processed or unprocessed, is directed through the regulated pathway, and therefore the small (less than 1%) amount released via a constitutive pathway cannot explain the preferential release of newly formed products from the B cell.

This content is only available as a PDF.