Mathematical Model of Metabolism and Electrophysiology of Amino Acid and Glucose Stimulated Insulin Secretion: In Vitro Validation Using a β-Cell Line
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We integrated biological experimental data with mathematical modelling to gain insights into the role played by L-alanine in amino acid-stimulated insulin secretion (AASIS) and in D-glucose-stimulated insulin secretion (GSIS), details important to the understanding of complex β-cell metabolic coupling relationships. We present an ordinary differential equations (ODEs) based simplified kinetic model of core metabolic processes leading to ATP production (glycolysis, TCA cycle, L-alanine-specific reactions, respiratory chain, ATPase and proton leak) and Ca2+ handling (essential channels and pumps in the plasma membrane) in pancreatic β-cells and relate these to insulin secretion. Experimental work was performed using a clonal rat insulin-secreting cell line (BRIN-BD11) to measure the consumption or production of a range of important biochemical parameters (D-glucose, L-alanine, ATP, insulin secretion) and Ca2+ levels. These measurements were then used to validate the theoretical model and fine-tune the parameters. Mathematical modelling was used to predict L-lactate and L-glutamate concentrations following D-glucose and/or L-alanine challenge and Ca2+ levels upon stimulation with a non metabolizable L-alanine analogue. Experimental data and mathematical model simulations combined suggest that L-alanine produces a potent insulinotropic effect via both a stimulatory impact on β-cell metabolism and as a direct result of the membrane depolarization due to Ca2+ influx triggered by L-alanine/Na+ co-transport. Our simulations indicate that both high intracellular ATP and Ca2+ concentrations are required in order to develop full insulin secretory responses. The model confirmed that K+ ATP channel independent mechanisms of stimulation of intracellular Ca2+ levels, via generation of mitochondrial coupling messengers, are essential for promotion of the full and sustained insulin secretion response in β-cells.
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