AIMS: Insulin potentiates glucose-stimulated insulin secretion. These effects are attenuated in beta cell-specific insulin receptor knockout mice and insulin resistant humans. This investigation examines whether short duration insulin exposure regulates beta cell responsiveness to arginine, a non-glucose secretagogue, in healthy humans.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Arginine-stimulated insulin secretion was studied in 10 healthy humans. In each subject arginine was administered as a bolus followed by continuous infusion on two occasions one month apart, after sham/saline or hyperinsulinemic-isoglycemic clamp, respectively providing low and high insulin pre-exposure conditions. Arginine-stimulated insulin secretion was measured by C-peptide deconvolution, and by a selective immunogenic (DAKO) assay for direct measurement of endogenous but not exogenous insulin.
RESULTS: Pre-exposure to exogenous insulin augmented arginine-stimulated insulin secretion. The effect was seen acutely following arginine bolus (endogenous DAKO insulin incremental AUC240-255min 311.6 ± 208.1 (post-insulin exposure) versus 120.6 ± 42.2 μU/ml•min (sham/saline) (t-test P = 0.021)), as well as in response to continuous arginine infusion (DAKO insulin incremental AUC260-290min 1095.3 ± 592.1 (sham/saline) versus 564.8 ± 207.1 μU/ml•min (high insulin)(P = 0.009)). Findings were similar when beta cell response was assessed using C-peptide, insulin secretion rates by deconvolution, and the C-peptide to glucose ratio.
CONCLUSIONS: We demonstrate a physiologic role of insulin in regulation of the beta cell secretory response to arginine.