Metabotropic Glutamate Receptor Type 4 Is Involved in Autoinhibitory Cascade for Glucagon Secretion by α-Cells of Islet of Langerhans

Shunsuke Uehara, Aldko Muroyama, Noriko Echigo, Riyo Morimoto, Masato Otsuka, Shouki Yatsushiro, Yoshinori Moriyama

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66 Citations (Scopus)


In islets of Langerhans, L-glutamate is stored in glucagon-containing secretory granules of α-cells and cosecreted with glucagon under low-glucose conditions. The L-glutamate triggers secretion of γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) from β-cells, which in turn inhibits glucagon secretion from α-cells through the GABAA receptor. In the present study, we tested the working hypothesis that L-glutamate functions as an autocrine/paracrine modulator and inhibits glucagon secretion through a glutamate receptor(s) on α-cells. The addition of L-glutamate at 1 mmol/ l; (R,S)-phosphonophenylglycine (PPG) and (S)-3,4-dicarboxyphenylglycine (DCPG), specific agonists for class III metabotropic glutamate receptor (mGluR), at 100 μmol/l; and (1S,3R,4S)-1-aminocyclopentane-1,3,4-tricarboxylic acid (ACPT-I) at 50 μmol/l inhibited the low-glucose-evoked glucagon secretion by 87, 81, 73, and 87%, respectively. This inhibition was dose dependent and was blocked by (R,S)-cyclopropyl-4-phosphonophenylglycine (CPPG), a specific antagonist of class III mGluR. Agonists of other glutamate receptors, including kainate and quisqualate, had little effectiveness. RT-PCR and immunological analyses indicated that mGluR4, a class III mGluR, was expressed and localized with α- and F cells, whereas no evidence for expression of other mGluRs, including mGluR8, was obtained. L-Glutamate, PPG, and ACPT-I decreased the cAMP content in isolated islets, which was blocked by CPPG. Dibutylyl-cAMP, a nonhydrolyzable cAMP analog, caused the recovery of secretion of glucagon. Pertussis toxin, which uncouples adenylate cyclase and inhibitory G-protein, caused the recovery of both the cAMP content and secretion of glucagon. These results indicate that α- and F cells express functional mGluR4, and its stimulation inhibits secretion of glucagon through an inhibitory cAMP cascade. Thus, L-glutamate may directly interact with α-cells and inhibit glucagon secretion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)998-1006
Number of pages9
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


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