K(ATP)-channels and glucose-regulated glucagon secretion

Trends Endocrinol Metab. 2008 Oct;19(8):277-84. doi: 10.1016/j.tem.2008.07.003. Epub 2008 Sep 2.


Glucagon, secreted by the alpha-cells of the pancreatic islets, is the most important glucose-increasing hormone of the body. The precise regulation of glucagon release remains incompletely defined but has been proposed to involve release of inhibitory factors from neighbouring beta-cells (paracrine control). However, the observation that glucose can regulate glucagon secretion under conditions when insulin secretion does not occur argues that the alpha-cell is also equipped with its own intrinsic (exerted within the alpha-cell itself) glucose sensing. Here we consider the possible mechanisms involved with a focus on ATP-regulated K(+)-channels and changes in alpha-cell membrane potential.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Diabetes Mellitus / metabolism
  • Diabetes Mellitus / therapy
  • Glucagon / metabolism*
  • Glucagon-Secreting Cells / drug effects*
  • Glucagon-Secreting Cells / metabolism
  • Glucagon-Secreting Cells / physiology
  • Glucose / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / pharmacology
  • KATP Channels / physiology*
  • Membrane Potentials / drug effects
  • Membrane Potentials / physiology
  • Models, Biological
  • Paracrine Communication / physiology
  • Tolbutamide / pharmacology


  • Hypoglycemic Agents
  • KATP Channels
  • Glucagon
  • Tolbutamide
  • Glucose