Clinical and experimental pharmacology & physiology

Canavanine induces insulin release via activation of imidazoline I3 receptors.

PMID 25482045


The aim of the present study was to identify the effect of canavanine on the imidazoline receptor because canavanine is a guanidinium derivative that has a similar structure to imidazoline receptor ligands. Transfected Chinese hamster ovary-K1 cells expressing imidazoline receptors (nischarin (NISCH)-CHO-K1 cells) were used to elucidate the direct effects of canavanine on imidazoline receptors. In addition, the imidazoline I3 receptor has been implicated in stimulation of insulin secretion from pancreatic β-cells. Wistar rats were used to investigate the effects of canavanine (0.1, 1 and 2.5xa0mg/kg, i.v.) on insulin secretion. In addition the a specific I3 receptor antagonist KU14R (4 or 8xa0mg/kg, i.v.) was used to block I3 receptors. Canavanine decreased blood glucose by increasing plasma insulin in rats. In addition, canavanine increased calcium influx into NISCH-CHO-K1 cells in a manner similar to agmatine, the endogenous ligand of imidazoline receptors. Moreover, KU12R dose-dependently attenuated canavanine-induced insulin secretion in HIT-T15 pancreatic β-cells and in the plasma of rats. The data suggest that canavanine is an agonist of I3 receptors both in vivo and in vitro. Thus, canavanine would be a useful tool in imidazoline receptor research.