Cold-induced insulin release in vitro: Evidence for exocytosis

Gerhard Dahl, Jean Claude Henquin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Exposure of isolated pancreatic islets (mouse or rat) to low temperature (2° C) evoked a threefold increase in insulin release irrespective of the glucose concentration in the incubation medium. Cold-induced release was transient and rewarming to 37° C restored the sensitivity of B-cells to glucose stimulation. In islets cooled to 2° C, exocytotic profiles could easily be detected both by thin-section and freeze-fracture electron microscopy. As revealed by the freeze-fracture technique, the number of exocytotic profiles per membrane area was increased three-to fourfold as compared to islet cells incubated at 20° C. This was paralleled by intracellular fusion of secretory vesicles. Cold-induced insulin release was not affected by theophylline, cytochalasin B, omission of extracellular Ca++ or D600. Replacement of extracellular Na+ with choline or sucrose suppressed the increase in insulin release and in frequency of exocytotic profiles recorded after exposure to 2° C. It is suggested that a redistribution of Ca++ from intracellular stores, possibly mediated by an increase in intracellular Na+, triggers exocytosis of insulin granules upon exposure to cold.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)387-398
Number of pages12
JournalCell and Tissue Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 1 1978
Externally publishedYes


  • Calcium
  • Exocytosis
  • Insulin
  • Isolated pancreatic islets
  • Temperature

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Histology
  • Cell Biology


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