Somatostatin coordinately regulates glucagon gene expression and exocytosis in HIT-T15 cells

David M. Kendall, Vincent Poitout, L. Karl Olson, Robert L Sorenson, Paul Robertson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Somatostatin (SRIF) regulates secretion from several endocrine cell types. SRIF inhibits both insulin and glucagon secretion and reduces insulin gene expression. However, whether SRIF inhibition of glucagon secretion from the pancreatic alpha cell is mediated via pertussis toxin-sensitive G-proteins is nut presently known, nor has it been determined whether SRIF can regulate glucagon gene expression. Consequently, we performed studies in the transformed islet cell line HIT-T15 to determine whether the inhibitory effect of SRIF on glucagon exocytosis is preserved in this cell line, whether this effect is mediated through a pertussis toxin-sensitive mechanism, and whether SRIF has an inhibitory effect on glucagon gene expression. Confocal microscopy with immunostaining revealed that 15-25% of HIT-T15 cells contained glucagon. In static incubations forskolin (FSK, 1 μM) increased glucagon secretion 3.6±0.9-fold (P < 0.01) and mixed amino acids (15 mM) increased glucagon secretion 2.8 ± 0.4-fold (P < 0.01). Addition of SRIF significantly inhibited both forskolin- and amino acid-stimulated secretion. Maximal inhibition of both FSK- and amino acid-stimulated secretion occurred at SRIF concentrations ~10-8 M and these inhibitory effects were completely prevented by pertussis toxin pretreatment. In addition to inhibiting glucagon secretion, SRIF significantly reduced both basal and FSK- stimulated glucagon mRNA levels and this reduction in glucagon mRNA was completely prevented by the addition of cyclic AMP analogue. Glucagon gene promoter activity, as assessed by transient transfection experiments, was stimulated 2.1±0.25-fold by forskolin (P < 0.01). This effect was significantly inhibited by SRIF (71±4% reduction from FSK alone, P < 0.04) suggesting that SRIF inhibition of the glucagon promoter may, at least in part, account fur the observed decrease in glucagon mRNA levels. These studies uniquely demonstrate that glucagon secretion from the HIT-T15 cell line is inhibited by SRIF through a pertussis toxin-sensitive mechanism and that SRIF also inhibits glucagon gene expression in part by reducing glucagon promoter activity. These findings indicate that SRIF can coordinately regulate glucagon delivery by the alpha cell both at the level of gene expression and hormone exocytosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2496-2502
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Clinical Investigation
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 1995


  • alpha cell
  • glucagon gene transcription
  • somatostatin


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