Regulation of glucagon release in mouse α-cells by KATP channels and inactivation of TTX-sensitive Na+ channels

Authors

  • S. O. Göpel,

    1. Department of Molecular and Cellular Physiology, Diabetes Research Unit, Institute of Physiological Sciences, Lund University, Sölvegatan 19, SE-223 62 Lund, Sweden
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  • T. Kanno,

    1. Department of Molecular and Cellular Physiology, Diabetes Research Unit, Institute of Physiological Sciences, Lund University, Sölvegatan 19, SE-223 62 Lund, Sweden
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  • S. Barg,

    1. Department of Molecular and Cellular Physiology, Diabetes Research Unit, Institute of Physiological Sciences, Lund University, Sölvegatan 19, SE-223 62 Lund, Sweden
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  • X.-G. Weng,

    1. Laboratory of Islet Cell Physiology, Novo Nordisk A/S, Novo Alle, DK-2880 Bagsvaerd, Denmark
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  • J. Gromada,

    1. Laboratory of Islet Cell Physiology, Novo Nordisk A/S, Novo Alle, DK-2880 Bagsvaerd, Denmark
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  • P. Rorsman

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Molecular and Cellular Physiology, Diabetes Research Unit, Institute of Physiological Sciences, Lund University, Sölvegatan 19, SE-223 62 Lund, Sweden
    • Corresponding author
      P. Rorsman: Department of Molecular and Cellular Physiology, Lund University, Sölvegatan 19, S-223 62 Lund, Sweden. Email: patrik.rorsman@mphy.lu.se

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Abstract

  • 1The perforated patch whole-cell configuration of the patch-clamp technique was applied to superficial glucagon-secreting α-cells in intact mouse pancreatic islets.
  • 2α-cells were distinguished from the β- and δ-cells by the presence of a large TTX-blockable Na+ current, a TEA-resistant transient K+ current sensitive to 4-AP (A-current) and the presence of two kinetically separable Ca2+ current components corresponding to low- (T-type) and high-threshold (L-type) Ca2+ channels.
  • 3The T-type Ca2+, Na+ and A-currents were subject to steady-state voltage-dependent inactivation, which was half-maximal at −45, −47 and −68 mV, respectively.
  • 4Pancreatic α-cells were equipped with tolbutamide-sensitive, ATP-regulated K+ (KATP) channels. Addition of tolbutamide (0·1 mm) evoked a brief period of electrical activity followed by a depolarisation to a plateau of −30 mV with no regenerative electrical activity.
  • 5Glucagon secretion in the absence of glucose was strongly inhibited by TTX, nifedipine and tolbutamide. When diazoxide was added in the presence of 10 mm glucose, concentrations up to 2 μm stimulated glucagon secretion to the same extent as removal of glucose.
  • 6We conclude that electrical activity and secretion in the α-cells is dependent on the generation of Na+-dependent action potentials. Glucagon secretion depends on low activity of KATP channels to keep the membrane potential sufficiently negative to prevent voltage-dependent inactivation of voltage-gated membrane currents. Glucose may inhibit glucagon release by depolarising the α-cell with resultant inactivation of the ion channels participating in action potential generation.

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