Activation of Ca(2+)-dependent K(+) channels contributes to rhythmic firing of action potentials in mouse pancreatic beta cells.
Göpel SO., Kanno T., Barg S., Eliasson L., Galvanovskis J., Renström E., Rorsman P.
We have applied the perforated patch whole-cell technique to beta 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 Ca(2+) influx but unaffected by apamin and charybdotoxin, two blockers of Ca(2+)-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 Ca(2+)-activated K(+) current plays an important role in the generation of oscillatory electrical activity in the beta cell.