In isolated rat pancreatic islets, the tumor-promoting agent 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate (TPA), when used in the 2.10-9 to 2.10-7m range, was found to stimulate insulin release both in the absence and presence of glucose. The nontumor-promoting agent 4-methylphorbol-12,13-didecanoate failed to stimulate insulin release. The insulinotropic capacity of TPA was enhanced by glucose in a dose-related fashion. In the absence of glucose, the TPA-stimulated release of insulin was a slowly induced and not rapidly reversible phenomenon. It was inhibited by antimycin A, by epinephrine, at low temperatures, and in the absence of extracellular Ca2+ or the presence of cytochalasin B, was unaffected by the organic calcium antagonist D600 or indomethacin, and was potentiated by theophylline. No obvious effect of TPA upon 86Rb or 32P efflux and 45Ca net uptake could be detected in the isolated islets. However, TPA caused a progressive increase in both 45Ca fractional outflow rate and cyclic adenosine 3′:5′-monophosphate content in the islets. It is proposed that the insulinotropic action of TPA may be due, in part at least, to interference with the transport of calcium by native ionophores.


This work was supported in part by Grant 3.4528.79 from the Belgian Foundation for Scientific Medical Research and by Grant 79.7.0795 from the French General Delegation for Scientific and Technical Research.

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