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The glucoregulatory hormones insulin and glucagon are released from the β- and α-cells of the pancreatic islets. In both cell types, secretion is secondary to firing of action potentials, Ca(2+)-influx via voltage-gated Ca(2+)-channels, elevation of [Ca(2+)](i) and initiation of Ca(2+)-dependent exocytosis. Here we discuss the mechanisms that underlie the reciprocal regulation of insulin and glucagon secretion by changes in plasma glucose, the roles played by different types of voltage-gated Ca(2+)-channel present in α- and β-cells and the modulation of hormone secretion by Ca(2+)-dependent and -independent processes. We also consider how subtle changes in Ca(2+)-signalling may have profound impact on β-cell performance and increase risk of developing type-2 diabetes.

Original publication




Journal article


Cell Calcium

Publication Date





300 - 308


Action Potentials, Animals, Calcium, Calcium Channels, Calcium Signaling, Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2, Feedback, Physiological, Glucagon, Glucagon-Secreting Cells, Humans, Insulin, Insulin-Secreting Cells, Receptor Cross-Talk