Minimal model for membrane oscillations in the pancreatic beta-cell

Biophys J. 1983 May;42(2):181-90. doi: 10.1016/S0006-3495(83)84384-7.


Following the experimental findings of Atwater et al. (In Biochemistry Biophysics of the Pancreatic-beta-Cell, George Thieme Verlag, New York, 100-107), we have formulated a mathematical model for ionic and electrical events that take place in pancreatic-beta-cells. Our formulation incorporates a Hodgkin-Huxley type gating mechanism for Ca2+ and K+ channels, in addition to Ca2+ gated K+-channels. Consistent with the experimental observations, our model generates spikes and bursts in beta-cell membrane potentials and gives the correct responses to additions of glucose, quinine, and tetraethylammonium ions. The response of the oscillations to ouabain and changing concentrations of external K+ can be incorporated into the present model, although a more complete treatment would require inclusion of the Na+/K+ pump.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Aplysia
  • Calcium / metabolism
  • Cell Membrane / drug effects
  • Cell Membrane / physiology*
  • Electric Conductivity
  • Ion Channels / physiology
  • Islets of Langerhans / physiology*
  • Mathematics
  • Membrane Potentials / drug effects
  • Models, Biological
  • Potassium / metabolism
  • Quinine / pharmacology


  • Ion Channels
  • Quinine
  • Potassium
  • Calcium