Insulin release from a cloned precursor beta cell line Academic Article uri icon


  • ABSTRACT This paper describes the establishment in long-term tissue culture of a functional, clonal beta (B) cell line UMR 407/3 derived from neonatal rat pancreas. Immunofluorescence demonstrated specific and uniform staining for insulin. Transmission electron microscopy showed the presence of microvilli and cytoplasmic granules. The doubling time in culture was approximately 60 h in 2% (v/v) fetal calf serum with inhibition of growth at confluence. Biochemical studies demonstrated the incorporation of [3H]leucine into proinsulin and insulin, with insulin comprising 43·6% of the total radioactivity incorporated into immune complexes. When incubated at 37 °C for 30 min with Krebs–Ringer bicarbonate buffer (pH 7·4), the amount of insulin released on stimulation by 16·7 mmol glucose/l, 20 mmol dl-glyceraldehyde/l or 20 mmol α-ketoisocaproate/l was significantly higher compared with 5·6 mmol glucose/l. The mean insulin content was equivalent to 99±0·4 fmol (s.e.m.)/5 × 105 cells. Regulated insulin release was maintained through at least 15 passages in culture. The cells showed morphological evidence of senescence after passage 26 and this was associated with significant reduction in stimulated insulin release as well as insulin content. The ability of the cells of this clonal line to grow in soft agar suggests that it is a precursor cell line. The clonal B cell lines isolated so far may thus represent variably committed rather than fully differentiated B cells in culture. These clonal non-neoplastic cell lines will be useful models with which to study the regulation of maturation/differentiation of B cells and insulin gene expression. Finally, the method described for the isolation of clonal B cell lines can be used to establish, in culture, precursor clonal lines from other normal tissues. J. Endocr. (1987) 113, 3–10


  • Ng, KW
  • Gummer, PR
  • Grills, BL
  • Michelangeli, VP
  • Dunlop, ME

publication date

  • April 1987