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The effects of glucose, diazoxide, K+, and tolbutamide on the activity of K+ channels, membrane potential, and cytoplasmic free Ca2+ concentration were investigated in beta-cells from the Uppsala colony of obese hyperglycemic mice. With [K+]e = [K+]i = 146 mM, it was demonstrated that the dominating channel at the resting potential is a K+ channel with a single-channel conductance of about 65 picosiemens and a reversal potential of about +70 mV (pipette potential). This channel is characterized by complex kinetics with openings grouped in bursts. The channel was completely inhibited by 20 mM glucose in intact cells or by intracellularly applied Mg-ATP (1 mM). The number of active channels was markedly reduced already by 5 mM glucose. However, the single channel current of the channels remaining active was unaffected, indicating no major depolarization. To evoke a substantial depolarization of the membrane and thereby action potentials, a total block in channel activity was necessary. This could be achieved either by increasing the concentration of glucose to 20 mM or by combining 5 mM glucose with 100 microM tolbutamide. In both cases, the effect was counteracted by the hyperglycemic sulfonamide diazoxide. The effects on single channel activity were paralleled by changes in membrane potential and cytoplasmic free Ca2+ concentration, also when the latter measurements were performed at room temperature. The transient increase in the number of active channels and the resulting hyperpolarization observed after raising the glucose concentration to 20 mM probably reflected a drop in cytoplasmic ATP concentration. It is suggested that ATP works as a key regulator of the beta-cell membrane potential and thereby the opening of voltage-activated Ca2+ channels.


Journal article


J Biol Chem

Publication Date





5448 - 5454


Adenosine Triphosphate, Animals, Calcium, Diazoxide, Female, Glucose, Hyperglycemia, In Vitro Techniques, Ion Channels, Islets of Langerhans, Male, Membrane Potentials, Mice, Mice, Obese, Potassium, Tolbutamide