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OBJECTIVE: The ATP-dependent K+-channel (K(ATP)) is critical for glucose sensing and normal glucagon and insulin secretion from pancreatic endocrine alpha- and beta-cells. Gastrointestinal endocrine L- and K-cells are also glucose-sensing cells secreting glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) and glucose-dependent insulinotrophic polypeptide (GIP) respectively. The aims of this study were to 1) investigate the expression and co-localisation of the K(ATP) channel subunits, Kir6.2 and SUR1, in human L- and K-cells and 2) investigate if a common hyperactive variant of the Kir6.2 subunit, Glu23Lys, exerts a functional impact on glucose-sensing tissues in vivo that may affect the overall glycaemic control in children with new-onset type 1 diabetes. DESIGN AND METHODS: Western blot and immunohistochemical analyses were performed for expression and co-localisation studies. Meal-stimulated C-peptide test was carried out in 257 children at 1, 6 and 12 months after diagnosis. Genotyping for the Glu23Lys variant was by PCR-restriction fragment length polymorphism. RESULTS: Kir6.2 and SUR1 co-localise with GLP-1 in L-cells and with GIP in K-cells in human ileum tissue. Children with type 1 diabetes carrying the hyperactive Glu23Lys variant had higher HbA1C at diagnosis (coefficient = 0.61%, P = 0.02) and 1 month after initial insulin therapy (coefficient = 0.30%, P = 0.05), but later disappeared. However, when adjusting HbA1C for the given dose of exogenous insulin, the dose-adjusted HbA1C remained higher throughout the 12 month study period (coefficient = 0.42%, P = 0.03). CONCLUSIONS: Kir6.2 and SUR1 co-localise in the gastrointestinal endocrine L- and K-cells. The hyperactive Glu23Lys variant of the K(ATP) channel subunit Kir6.2 may cause defective glucose sensing in several tissues and impaired glycaemic control in children with type 1 diabetes.

Original publication




Journal article


Eur J Endocrinol

Publication Date





663 - 671


ATP-Binding Cassette Transporters, Adolescent, Blotting, Western, C-Peptide, Child, Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1, Eating, Female, Gastric Inhibitory Polypeptide, Genotype, Glucagon, Glucagon-Like Peptide 1, Glycated Hemoglobin A, Humans, Hyperglycemia, Hypoglycemic Agents, Ileum, Immunohistochemistry, Insulin, Islets of Langerhans, Male, Polymorphism, Restriction Fragment Length, Potassium Channels, Potassium Channels, Inwardly Rectifying, Receptors, Drug, Sulfonylurea Receptors