Endocrinology and Metabolism

Cephalic-phase insulin secretion in normal and pancreatic islet-transplanted rats

H. R. Berthoud, E. R. Trimble, E. G. Siegel, D. A. Bereiter, B. Jeanrenaud


The ability of saccharin, in comparison with glucose and tap water, to elicit glycemia-independent neurally mediated insulin secretion was investigated in chronically catheterized, freely moving rats. Plasma glucose and insulin concentrations were measured continuously from venous blood with a sampling resolution of one per minute. In normal rats, 1 ml of 0.15% saccharin caused a significant rapid rise in peripheral plasma insulin levels lasting up to 5 min, without significant changes in glycemia. Tap water alone also induced a transient elevation in insulinemia but was much smaller than the saccharin-induced response. In streptozotocin diabetic rats bearing intrahepatic, presumably denervated islet isografts, these rapid insulin responses to oral saccharin and tap water stimulation were completely abolished, whereas the early insulin response to intravenous glucose was decreased by only about 30%. These results are consistent with the concept of gustatory and other oral sensory signals acting as triggers for neurally mediated insulin release.