The location of the somatostatin-containing D-cells of the pancreatic islets between the A- and B-cells suggests that their function might be to inhibit insulin and/or glucagon secretion by these neighboring cells. To determine if insulin and/or glucagon, in concentrations that might be present in the extracellular space surrounding the D-cells, stimulate immunoreactive somatostatin (IRS) release, we perfused 10 μg of glucagon or 10 milliunits of insulin per ml in 11 isolated dog pancreases, for 40 min in seven experiments and for 100 min in four experiments. In eight of the nine experiments in which glucagon was perfused, a prompt and significant rise in mean IRS release, ranging from 71 to 128% above the control level, was observed. In the eight experiments in which insulin was perfused, ITS did not increase during the first 40 min; in the two 100-min insulin experiments, it did rise during the final 50 min, however. To determine the effect of an A- and B-cell secretogogue on IRS release, we perfused 20 mM arginine for 60 min in six experiments. In all, IRS rose within 3 min and reached a level 71-465% above the control, remaining significantly elevated throughout the perfusion, while glucagon and insulin rose to peak levels at 2 min and then declined somewhat despite continuing arginine perfusion. The results indicate that perfusion of the normal dog pancreas with high doses of glucagon or arginine is accompanied by a prompt increase in IRS release and are compatible with a local feedback circuit involving A- and D-cells. Insulin appears not to augment IRS release, at least not promptly, but IRS stimulated by local endogenous glucagon could inhibit the B-cell response to locally secreted glucagon and thereby influence the composition of the insulin/glucagon secretion mixture.
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