Dr. Nicole Burkhardt-Feldmann

Hjelt grant holder 2009, University of Geneva

The role of the amino acid glutamate in insulin and glucagon secretion

Dr. Nicole Burkhardt-Feldmann, PhD, received a postdoctoral fellowship from the Foundation from February to August 2009. During this time, she finished her project on the role of the amino acid glutamate in insulin and glucagon secretion. The amino acid is formed from glucose both in pancreatic islet beta and alpha cells, secreting respectively the blood glucose-lowering hormone insulin and the glucose-raising hormone glucagon. The results show that glutamate clearly acts as an intracellular messenger molecule, essential for glucose-stimulated insulin secretion. In contrast, under conditions in which glucose stimulates glucagon secretion, glutamate is not involved in the release mechanism. These results substantiate the hypothesis that glutamate is an intracellular mediator in the action of glucose on insulin secretion in the beta cell. The selective implication of glutamate makes this signaling pathway an interesting target for the development of new drugs for type 2 diabetes, in which insulin secretion is deficient.

Go Back