Peptide-hormone secretion is partially triggered by Ca2+ influx through voltage-gated Ca2+ channels (VGCCs) and gene inactivation of Zn2+-sensitive Cav2.3-type VGCCs is associated with disturbed glucose homeostasis in mice. Zn2+ has been implicated in pancreatic islet cell crosstalk and recent findings indicate that sudden cessation of Zn2+ supply during hypoglycemia triggers glucagon secretion in rodents. Here we show that diethyldithiocarbamate (DEDTC), a chelating agent for Zn2+ and other group IIB metal ions, differentially affects blood glucose and serum peptide hormone level in wild-type mice and mice lacking the Cav2.3-subunit. Fasting glucose and glucagon level were significantly higher in Cav2.3-deficient compared to wild-type mice, while DEDTC Zn2+-chelation produced a significant and correlated increase of blood glucose and serum glucagon concentration in wild-type but not Cav2.3-deficient mice. Glucose tolerance tests revealed severe glucose intolerance in Zn2+-depleted Cav2.3-deficient but not vehicle-treated Cav2.3-deficient or Zn2+-depleted wildtype mice. Collectively, these findings indicate that Cav2.3 channels are critically involved in the Zn2+-mediated suppression of glucagon secretion during hyperglycemia. Especially under conditions of Zn2+ deficiency, ablation or dysfunction of Cav2.3 channels may lead to severe disturbances in glucose homeostasis.
Keywords: Gene inactivation; Peptide hormone release; Pharmacoresistant Ca(2+) channel; Toxin-resistant current.
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