PubMed 20446079

Referenced in Channelpedia wiki pages of: none

Automatically associated channels: BK

Title: Voltage-dependent K(+) channels are positive regulators of alpha cell action potential generation and glucagon secretion in mice and humans.

Authors: A F Spigelman, X Dai, P E MacDonald

Journal, date & volume: Diabetologia, 2010 Sep , 53, 1917-26

PubMed link:

The regulation of glucagon secretion from alpha cells is poorly understood. Since action potential firing at low glucose is required for glucagon secretion, we hypothesised that voltage-dependent K(+) (Kv) currents limit glucagon secretion under these conditions, similarly to their role in insulin secretion.Kv currents and action potential firing of mouse and human alpha cells, identified by immunostaining, were examined by whole-cell patch-clamp. Glucagon secretion from mouse and human islets was measured by ELISA.Kv current density was 35% larger in alpha than in beta cells. Alpha cell Kv channels were sensitive to block by tetraethylammonium (TEA) and 4-aminopyridine. Surprisingly, Kv channel inhibition reduced glucagon release to the same extent as glucose. Robust action potential firing was observed in beta cells when ATP-sensitive K(+) channels were closed, but in alpha cells a negative current (-8 pA) injection was required for action potential firing. TEA (0.5 mmol/l) impaired alpha cell action potential firing, which could be restored by further hyperpolarising current injection (-16 pA). Kv currents were more sensitive to the Kv2 inhibitor stromatoxin (100 nmol/l) in mouse (80%) than in human (45%) alpha cells. Finally, the maxi-K (BK) channel inhibitor iberiotoxin (100 nmol/l) blocked 55% of the current in human alpha cells and inhibited glucagon release from human islets.Kv currents in alpha cells are positive regulators of glucagon secretion. These currents, mediated by Kv2 and BK channels, limit membrane depolarisation, and prevent inactivation of alpha cell action potentials and suppression of glucagon release.