Sex steroids are supposed to contribute to the normal glucose homeostasis and to the altered glucose and insulin metabolism in pregnancy and during contraception. In the present study isolated mouse pancreatic islets were maintained in tissue culture medium RPMI 1640 supplemented with 0.5% newborn calf serum and 100 ng/ml of one of the following steroids: oestradiol, progesterone, testosterone, megestrol acetate, medroxyprogesterone, chlormadinone acetate, norethynodrel, norethindrone acetate, and ethynyloestradiol. Release of insulin to the culture medium was measured during a 2 week culture period, and the islet content of insulin, glucagon, and DNA was measured at the end of the period. It was found that progesterone and its derivatives megestrol acetate, medroxyprogesterone, and chlormadinone caused a 2-fold increase in insulin release during the culture period. When islets cultured in the presence of oestradiol, progesterone, or testosterone were subjected to 30 min stimulation with 5.5, 11, 22 mmol/l glucose, only the progesterone-treated islets released more insulin in response to glucose than the control islets. It is concluded that progesterone and its derivatives have a direct effect on the glucose-stimulated insulin release probably by increasing the glucose sensitivity. The results suggest that the alterations in glucose and insulin metabolism in pregnancy and during treatment with certain oral contraceptives may in part be due to a direct effect of progestins on the beta-cell.
Acta Endocrinologica, 1984, Vol 105, Issue 2, p. 245-50
Animals; DNA; Female; Glucagon; Gonadal Steroid Hormones; Insulin; Islets of Langerhans; Male; Mice; Mice, Inbred Strains; Organ Culture Techniques