Single islet cells in monolayer cultures of neonatal rat pancreas were microinjected with fluorescein and scanned topographically by microfluorometry. Fluorescein spread from an injected islet cell directly into neighboring islet cells, and, in the presence of 16.7 millimolar glucose, significantly more islet cells communicated with the injected cell than in glucose-free medium. Islet cells were also microinjected with glycolytic substrates and activators that produced transient changes in cellular levels of reduced pyridine nucleotides-nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide and nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate [NAD(P)H]. Changes in NAD(P)H fluorescence were observed in islet cells incubated first for 18 hours in very low glucose concentrations and then in a glucose-free medium and injected with glycolytic substrates and activators; however, little change of fluorescence occurred in adjacent islet cells. In contrast, after adding 16.7 millimolar glucose to the medium, injection of glycolytic substrates and activators produced transient changes in NAD(P)H fluorescence in the injected cell and in neighboring cells.

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