Insulin Is Released from Rat Brain Neuronal Cells in Culture


Address correspondence and reprint requests to Dr. D. W. Clarke at Department of Pediatrics, Box J-296, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32610, U.S.A.


Abstract: Depolarization of neuronal cells in primary culture from the rat brain by potassium ions in the presence of calcium or by veratridine caused a greater than threefold stimulation of release of immunoreactive insulin. HPLC of the released insulin immunoreactivity from the neuronal cultures comigrated with the two rat insulins. The depolarization-induced release of insulin was inhibited by cycloheximide and was specific for neuronal cultures since potassium ions failed to cause the release in comparably prepared astrocytic glial cells from the rat brain. Prelabelling of neuronal cultures with [3H]leucine followed by depolarization resulted in the release of radioactivity that immunoprecipitated with insulin antibody. The release of [3H]insulin was biphasic. These observations suggest that neuronal cells from the brain have the capacity to synthesize insulin that could be released under depolarization conditions.