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Hiriart, M; Rosenbaum, T; Vidaltamayo, R; Sanchez-Soto, MC; Zentella, A (1998)


P NATL ACAD SCI USA 95(13):7784-7788
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Differentiation and function of pancreatic beta cells are regulated by a variety of hormones and growth factors, including nerve growth factor (NGF). Whether this is an endocrine or autocrine/paracrine role for NGF is not known. We demonstrate that NGF is produced and secreted by adult rat pancreatic beta cells. NGF secretion is increased in response to elevated glucose or potassium, but decreased in response to dibutyryl cAMP. Moreover, steady-state levels of NGF mRNA are down-regulated by dibutyryl cAMP, which is opposite to the effect of cAMP on insulin release. NGF-stimulated changes in morphology and function are mediated by high-affinity Trk A receptors in other mammalian cells. Trk A receptors are present in beta cells and steady-state levels of Trk A mRNA are modulated by NGF and dibutyryl cAMP. Taken together, these findings suggest endocrine and autocrine roles for pancreatic beta-cell NGF, which, in turn, could be related to the pathogenesis of diabetes mellitus where serum NGF levels are diminished.