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Cell Calcium. 1983 Dec;4(5-6):451-61.

Properties of the Ca-activated K+ channel in pancreatic beta-cells.


The existence of [Ca2+]i-activated K+-channels in the pancreatic beta-cell membrane is based in two observations: quinine inhibits K+-permeability and, increasing intracellular Ca2+ stimulates it. The changes in K+-permeability of the beta-cell have been monitored electrically by combining measurements of the dependence of the membrane potential on external K+ concentration and input resistance. The changes in the passive 42K and 86Rb efflux from the whole islet have been measured directly. Intracellular Ca2+ has been increased by various means, including increasing extracellular Ca2+, addition of the Ca2+-ionophore A23187 or noradrenaline and application of mitochondrial uncouplers and blockers. In addition to quinine, many other substances have been found to inhibit or modulate the [Ca2+]i-activated K+-channel. The most important of these is the natural stimulus for insulin secretion, glucose. Glucose may inhibit K+-permeability by lowering intracellular Ca2+. Glibenclamide, a hypoglycaemic sulphonylurea, is about 25 times more active than quinine in blocking the K+-channel in beta-cells. The methylxanthines, c-AMP, various calmodulin inhibitors and Ba2+ also inhibit K+-permeability. Genetically diabetic mice have been studied and show an alteration in the [Ca2+]i-activated K+-channel. It is concluded that the [Ca2+]i-activated K+-channel plays a major role in the normal function of the pancreatic beta-cell. The study of its properties should prove valuable for the understanding and treatment of diabetes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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