Modelling of the possible role of glycolytic oscillations in the rapid
pulsatile insulin secretion by pancreatic beta cells

Nicolas Markadieu(1,2) and Albert Goldbeter (1)

(1) Unite de Chronobiologie Theorique, Faculte des Sciences CP 231,
Universite Libre de Bruxelles, B-1050 Brussels, Belgium

(2) Department of Chemistry and CATS, University of Copenhagen,
Universitetsparken 5, C108, 2100 Copenhagen O, Denmark

Abstract: Experimental observations suggest that glycolytic oscillations could underlie the rapid pulsatile secretion of insulin with a periodicity of about 13 minutes. Since the b cells within an islet are synchronized by gap junctions, the question arises as to how b cells from different islets can synchronize to produce a clearly pulsatile secretion. Indeed, if it was not the case, each islet could secrete insulin independently, and give rise to a mean insulin secretion which is constant in time. Using modelling, we studied the coupling between b cells from different islets. Our theoretical approach is based on a two-variable model for the description of the glycolytic oscillations in each of the islets. We demonstrate that it could be possible to explain the synchronization by automodulation of the oscillating blood glucose level induced by the pulsatile insulin secretion.