Glucose-sensing mechanisms in pancreatic beta-cells

Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 2005 Dec 29;360(1464):2211-25. doi: 10.1098/rstb.2005.1762.


The appropriate secretion of insulin from pancreatic beta-cells is critically important to the maintenance of energy homeostasis. The beta-cells must sense and respond suitably to postprandial increases of blood glucose, and perturbation of glucose-sensing in these cells can lead to hypoglycaemia or hyperglycaemias and ultimately diabetes. Here, we review beta-cell glucose-sensing with a particular focus on the regulation of cellular excitability and exocytosis. We examine in turn: (i) the generation of metabolic signalling molecules; (ii) the regulation of beta-cell membrane potential; and (iii) insulin granule dynamics and exocytosis. We further discuss the role of well known and putative candidate metabolic signals as regulators of insulin secretion.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acyl Coenzyme A / metabolism
  • Adenosine Triphosphate / biosynthesis
  • Calcium Channels / metabolism
  • Exocytosis / physiology*
  • Glucose / metabolism*
  • Glycolysis / physiology
  • Humans
  • Insulin / metabolism*
  • Insulin-Secreting Cells / metabolism
  • Insulin-Secreting Cells / physiology*
  • Membrane Potentials / physiology
  • Mitochondria / metabolism
  • Mitochondria / physiology*
  • Models, Biological*
  • NADP / metabolism
  • Potassium Channels / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction / physiology*


  • Acyl Coenzyme A
  • Calcium Channels
  • Insulin
  • Potassium Channels
  • NADP
  • Adenosine Triphosphate
  • Glucose