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Diabetes Care. 2002 Jan;25(1):101-6.

Carriers of an inactivating beta-cell ATP-sensitive K(+) channel mutation have normal glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity and appropriate insulin secretion.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, University of Kuopio, Kuopio, Finland.



Insulin release from the pancreatic beta-cells is controlled by ATP-sensitive K(+) (K(ATP)) channels, which consist of a hetero-octameric complex of four sulfonylurea receptor 1 (SUR1) and four Kir6.2 proteins. Mutations in the SUR1 gene are the major cause of congenital hyperinsulinemia (CHI). Despite the hereditary nature of CHI, studies of glucose homeostasis in heterozygous relatives of CHI patients are lacking. Theoretically, in the heterozygous state of the SUR1 gene mutation, only 1 of 16 K(ATP) channels consists of entirely normal subunits. The aim of our study was to investigate in vivo the glucose homeostasis of heterozygous SUR1 mutation carriers.


We studied 8 parents of CHI patients, all 8 of whom were heterozygous for the inactivating SUR1 mutation V187D, and 10 matched control subjects. We evaluated glucose tolerance and insulin secretory capacity with oral and intravenous glucose tests, rates of whole-body glucose uptake with hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic clamps, C-peptide response to hypoglycemia during hyperinsulinemic-hypoglycemic clamp, and function of the K(ATP) channels with intravenous tolbutamide test.


Carriers of the V187D substitution had normal glucose tolerance, normal tissue sensitivity to insulin, and no signs of inappropriate insulin secretion. The normal insulin response to tolbutamide indicated that heterozygosity for the V187D mutation did not impair K(ATP) channel function.


We conclude that the heterozygous carriers of the SUR1 mutation had normal glucose metabolism and insulin secretion, indicating that carriers of recessive K(ATP) channel mutations are unlikely to be at an increased risk of hypoglycemia or other disturbances in glucose metabolism.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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