Electrical coupling between cells in islets of Langerhans from mouse

J Membr Biol. 1984;77(1):1-14. doi: 10.1007/BF01871095.


Two microelectrodes have been used to measure membrane potentials simultaneously in pairs of mouse pancreatic islet cells. In the presence of glucose at concentrations between 5.6 and 22.2 mM, injection of current i into cell 1 caused a membrane potential change in this cell, V1, and, provided the second microelectrode was less than 35 micron away, in a second impaled cell 2, V2. This result establishes that there is electrical coupling between islet cells and suggests that the space constant of the coupling ratio within the islet tissue is of the order of a few beta-cell diameters. The current-membrane potential curves i-V1 and i-V2 are very similar. By exchange of the roles of the microelectrodes, no evidence of rectification of the current through the intercellular pathways was found. Removal of glucose caused a rapid decrease in the coupling ratio V2/V1. In steady-state conditions, the coupling ratio increases with the concentration of glucose in the range from 0 up to 22 mM. Values of the equivalent resistance of the junctional and nonjunctional membranes have been estimated and found to change with the concentration of glucose. Externally applied mitochondrial blockers induced a moderate increase in the junctional resistance possibly mediated by an increase in intracellular Ca2+.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Calcium / metabolism
  • Carbonyl Cyanide p-Trifluoromethoxyphenylhydrazone / pharmacology
  • Cell Communication
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Electrophysiology
  • Glucose / pharmacology
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Ion Channels / metabolism
  • Islets of Langerhans / drug effects
  • Islets of Langerhans / physiology*
  • Membrane Potentials / drug effects
  • Mice
  • Mitochondria / drug effects
  • Potassium / metabolism


  • Ion Channels
  • Carbonyl Cyanide p-Trifluoromethoxyphenylhydrazone
  • Glucose
  • Potassium
  • Calcium