Glucose-induced electrical activities and insulin secretion in pancreatic islet β-cells are modulated by CFTR

Nat Commun. 2014 Jul 15:5:4420. doi: 10.1038/ncomms5420.


The cause of insulin insufficiency remains unknown in many diabetic cases. Up to 50% adult patients with cystic fibrosis (CF), a disease caused by mutations in the gene encoding the CF transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR), develop CF-related diabetes (CFRD) with most patients exhibiting insulin insufficiency. Here we show that CFTR is a regulator of glucose-dependent electrical acitivities and insulin secretion in β-cells. We demonstrate that glucose elicited whole-cell currents, membrane depolarization, electrical bursts or action potentials, Ca(2+) oscillations and insulin secretion are abolished or reduced by inhibitors or knockdown of CFTR in primary mouse β-cells or RINm5F β-cell line, or significantly attenuated in CFTR mutant (DF508) mice compared with wild-type mice. VX-809, a newly discovered corrector of DF508 mutation, successfully rescues the defects in DF508 β-cells. Our results reveal a role of CFTR in glucose-induced electrical activities and insulin secretion in β-cells, shed light on the pathogenesis of CFRD and possibly other idiopathic diabetes, and present a potential treatment strategy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cystic Fibrosis Transmembrane Conductance Regulator / genetics
  • Cystic Fibrosis Transmembrane Conductance Regulator / metabolism*
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Glucose / pharmacology*
  • Insulin / metabolism*
  • Insulin Secretion
  • Insulin-Secreting Cells / drug effects
  • Insulin-Secreting Cells / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Membrane Potentials / drug effects
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Patch-Clamp Techniques


  • Insulin
  • Cystic Fibrosis Transmembrane Conductance Regulator
  • Glucose