Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

We have applied the perforated patch whole-cell technique to 13 cells within intact pancreatic islets to identify the current underlying the glucose-induced rhythmic firing of action potentials. Trains of depolarizations (to simulate glucose-induced electrical activity) resulted in the gradual (time constant: 2.3 s) development of a small (< 0.8 nS) K+ conductance. The current was dependent on Ca2+ influx but unaffected by apamin and charybdotoxin, two blockers of Ca2+-activated K+ channels, and was insensitive to tolbutamide (a blocker of ATP-regulated K+ channels) but partially (>60%) blocked by high (10-20 mM) concentrations of tetraethylammonium. Upon cessation of electrical stimulation, the current deactivated exponentially with a time constant of 6.5 s. This is similar to the interval between two successive bursts of action potentials. We propose that this Ca2+-activated K+ current plays an important role in the generation of oscillatory electrical activity in the β cell.

Original publication




Journal article


Journal of General Physiology

Publication Date





759 - 769