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Human Insulinomas Show Distinct Patterns of Insulin Secretion In Vitro.
Insulinomas are β-cell tumors that cause hypoglycemia through inappropriate secretion of insulin. Characterization of the in vitro dynamics of insulin secretion by perifused fragments of 10 human insulinomas permitted their subdivision into three functional groups with similar insulin content. Group A (four patients with fasting and/or postprandial hypoglycemic episodes) showed qualitatively normal responses to glucose, leucine, diazoxide, tolbutamide, and extracellular CaCl2 omission or excess. The effect of glucose was concentration dependent, but, compared with normal islets, insulin secretion was excessive in both low- and high-glucose conditions. Group B (three patients with fasting hypoglycemic episodes) was mainly characterized by large insulin responses to 1 mmol/L glucose, resulting in very high basal secretion rates that were inhibited by diazoxide and restored by tolbutamide but were not further augmented by other agents except for high levels of CaCl2. Group C (three patients with fasting hypoglycemic episodes) displayed very low rates of insulin secretion and virtually no response to stimuli (including high CaCl2 concentration) and inhibitors (CaCl2 omission being paradoxically stimulatory). In group B, the presence of low-Km hexokinase-I in insulinoma β-cells (not in adjacent islets) was revealed by immunohistochemistry. Human insulinomas thus show distinct, though not completely heterogeneous, defects in insulin secretion that are attributed to the undue expression of hexokinase-I in 3 of 10 patients.
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