Glucose and cell swelling induce insulin secretion by alternative signaling pathways. Swelling-induced secretion is in most systems independent of calcium and various mediators of glucose stimulation. Comparison of two insulinoma tumor cell lines revealed surprising difference; INS-1E cells in contrast to INS-1 cells and isolated rat pancreatic islets do not respond to hypotonicity in the presence of calcium. To delineate the role of cholesterol the effect of its extraction or addition on the insulin secretion in response to glucose and cell swelling was compared. INS-1E cells have significantly higher cholesterol content than INS-1 cells (58.5 ± 2.9 and 46.3 ± 2.5 mg chol/mg prot respectively). After cholesterol desorption by 1.0, 5.0 and 10.0 mM of carboxymethyl-β-cyclodextrin, methyl-β-cyclodextrin, or 2-hydroxypropyl-β- cyclodextrin the response to hypotonicity in INS-1E cells emerged. On the contrary, supplementation of INS-1 cells with cholesterol inhibited their response to cell swelling. Cyclodextrin pretreatment inhibited glucose-induced insulin secretion from INS-1 cells while INS-1E cells were more resistant to their effect. Conclusion: Cellular cholesterol content substantially affects secretory process; both high and low levels could be inhibitory. Absence of swelling-induced insulin secretion in INS-1E cells despite adequate response to glucose is related to their high cholesterol content. Optimal cholesterol concentration is different for either type of stimulation; swelling-induced mechanism is more sensitive to higher cholesterol content. The difference is likely to reflect involvement of sequential type exocytosis after cell swelling. Sensitivity of secretory processes suggests that either hypercholesterolemia or excessive effort to decrease plasma cholesterol in patients could have adverse effect on insulin secretion.
Keywords: Cell volume, cholesterol, insulin secretion, sequential exocytosis, glucose, cyclodextrins, insulin, calcium, ion-flux modifiers
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