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Br J Pharmacol. 1984 Nov;83(3):831-9.

Efflux of 86Rb from rat and mouse pancreatic islets: the role of membrane depolarization.


The efflux of 86Rb from rat or mouse perifused islets preloaded with the isotope has been used as an index of the potassium permeability of the islet beta-cell membrane. Cellular transmembrane potentials were altered by changing [K]O or by direct electrical stimulation and the effects on potassium permeability examined. Omission of KCl from the medium perifusing rat islets induced a biphasic change in 86Rb efflux, a brief decline being superseded by a pronounced increase in efflux. Re-introduction of KCl, 4.7 mM, caused a further increase in 86Rb efflux preceding a return to control values. Increasing [K]O from 4.7 mM to 10 mM, 20 mM or 47 mM caused a phasic increase in 86Rb efflux with the magnitude of both the peak and average rate of efflux being dependent upon the extent of the change in [K]O. The increase in 86Rb efflux produced by [K]O, 47 mM, was attenuated by Co2+, 2.56 mM (51% inhibition) or quinine, 10 microM (47% inhibition), but efflux remained significantly (P less than 0.001) above control values. Electrical stimulation of single microdissected mouse pancreatic islets by currents of 0.1 to 0.5 mA evoked a rapid, phasic increase in 86Rb efflux. The magnitude of the response was unaffected by EGTA, 2 mM, or nupercaine, 100 microM. These observations are discussed in relation to the mechanisms controlling the potassium permeability, membrane potential and insulin secretion of the pancreatic islet beta-cell. It is concluded that beta-cell depolarization by a raised [K]0 increases potassium permeability and efflux by at least two mechanisms: (i) a calcium-dependent potassium efflux triggered by an increase in [Ca]i and (ii) an activation of voltage-sensitive potassium channels which occurs even when the calcium-dependent potassium permeability is blocked.

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