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Glucagon is secreted by pancreatic α-cells to counteract hypoglycaemia. How glucose regulates glucagon secretion remains unclear. Here, using mouse islets, we studied the role of transmembrane and endoplasmic reticulum (ER) Ca2+ on intrinsic α-cell glucagon secretion. Blocking isradipine-sensitive L-type voltage-gated Ca2+ (Cav) channels abolished α-cell electrical activity but had little impact on its cytosolic Ca2+ oscillations or low-glucose-stimulated glucagon secretion. In contrast, depleting ER Ca2+ with cyclopiazonic acid or blocking ER Ca2+-releasing ryanodine receptors abolished α-cell glucose sensitivity and low-glucose-stimulated glucagon secretion. ER Ca2+ mobilization in α-cells is regulated by intracellular ATP and likely to be coupled to Ca2+ influx through P/Q-type Cav channels. ω-Agatoxin IVA blocked α-cell ER Ca2+ release and cell exocytosis, but had no additive effect on glucagon secretion when combined with ryanodine. We conclude that glucose regulates glucagon secretion through the control of ER Ca2+ mobilization, a mechanism that can be independent of α-cell electrical activity.

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Cell biology, Cellular physiology, Physiology