Background/Aims: Glucose-stimulated insulin secretion (GSIS) of pancreatic β-cells involves glucose uptake and metabolism, closure of KATP channels and depolarization of the cell membrane potential (Vmem), activation of voltage-activated Ca2+ currents (ICav) and influx of Ca2+, which eventually triggers hormone exocytosis. Beside this classical pathway, KATP-independent mechanisms such as changes in intracellular pH (pHi) or cell volume, which also affect β-cell viability, can elicit or modify insulin release. In β-cells the regulation of pHi is mainly accomplished by Na+/H+ exchangers (NHEs). To investigate if other proton extrusion mechanisms than NHEs are involved in pH regulation, we tested for the presence of the non-gastric H+/K+ ATPase in rat insulinoma cells and assessed effects of the H+/K+ ATPase inhibitor SCH-28080 on insulin secretion, cell viability and apoptosis. Methods: In INS-1E cell cultures, H+/K+ ATPase gene and protein expression was analyzed by reverse transcription PCR and Western blotting. Intracellular pH (pHi) recovery after acute acidic load was measured by NH4Cl prepulsing using BCECF. Insulin secretion was determined by ELISA from the cell culture supernatant. Vmem, K+ and Ca2+ currents were recorded using patch clamp. Overall cell responses were determined using resazurin (viability) and cytotoxicity assays. The mean cell volume (MCV), cell granularity (side-scatter; SSC), phosphatidylserine (PS) exposure, cell membrane integrity, caspase activity and the mitochondrial membrane potential (ΔΨm) were measured by flow cytometry. Results: We found that the α-subunit of the non-gastric H+/K+ ATPase (HKα2) is expressed on mRNA and protein level. However, compared to rat colon tissue, in INS-1E cells mRNA abundance was very low. In NH4Cl prepulsing experiments no K+-dependent pHi recovery was observed under Na+-free extracellular conditions. Nonetheless within 1 h, 20 µM SCH-28080 inhibited GSIS by ∼50%, while basal release was unaffected. The L-type ICav blocker nifedipine caused a full inhibition of GSIS at 10 and 20 µM. At 20 µM, SCH-28080 inhibited ICav comparable to 20 µM nifedipine and in addition augmented IKATP recorded at -60 mV and hyperpolarized Vmem by ∼15 mV. Cell viability 2 and 24 h post treatment with SCH-28080 was dose-dependently inhibited with IC50 values of 22.9 µM and 15.3 µM, respectively. At 20 µM the percentages of Annexin-V+, caspase+ and propidium iodide+ cells were significantly increased after 24 and 48 h. Concurrently, the MCV was significantly decreased (apoptotic volume decrease, AVD) and the SSC signal was increased. At concentrations >40–50 µM, SCH-28080 became progressively cytotoxic causing a steep increase in necrotic cells already 2 h post treatment and a breakdown of ΔΨm within 4 h under 50 and 100 µM while 10 and 20 µM had no effect on ΔΨm within 24 h. Conclusion: We demonstrate expression of HKα2 in rat INS-1E cells. However, the pump is apparently non-functional under the given conditions. Nonetheless the H+/K+ ATPase blocker SCH-28080 inhibits insulin secretion and induces cell death. Importantly, we show that SCH-28080 inhibits ICav - and activates KATP channels identifying them as novel “off-targets” of the inhibitor, causing hyperpolarization of Vmem and inhibition of insulin secretion.

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