Insulin modulation of ATP-sensitive K+ channel of rat skeletal muscle is impaired in the hypokalaemic state

Pflugers Arch. 1999 Jan;437(2):235-40. doi: 10.1007/s004240050774.


In the present work, we examined the effects of in vivo administration of insulin to rats made hypokalaemic by feeding a K+-free diet. The i.p. injection of insulin in the hypokalaemic rats provoked muscle paralysis within 3-5 h. Consistent with this observation, the skeletal muscle fibres of the paralysed rats were depolarized. In contrast, in the normokalaemic animals, insulin neither provoked paralysis nor produced significant fibre hyperpolarization. In the hypokalaemic rats, insulin almost completely abolished the sarcolemma adenosine triphosphate (ATP)-sensitive K+ currents without altering the sensitivity of the channels to ATP or glibenclamide. In contrast, in the normokalaemic rats, insulin enhanced ATP-sensitive K+ currents that became also resistant to ATP and glibenclamide. Our experiments indicate that the modulation of the sarcolemma ATP-sensitive K+ channels by insulin is impaired in the hypokalaemic state. This phenomenon appears to be related to the fibre depolarization and paralysis observed in the same animals.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine Triphosphate / pharmacology*
  • Animals
  • Diet
  • Glyburide / pharmacology
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Hypokalemia / metabolism*
  • Insulin / pharmacology*
  • Male
  • Microelectrodes
  • Muscle Fibers, Skeletal / drug effects
  • Muscle, Skeletal / drug effects
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism*
  • Paralysis / chemically induced
  • Paralysis / physiopathology
  • Patch-Clamp Techniques
  • Potassium Channels / drug effects
  • Potassium Channels / metabolism*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Sarcolemma / drug effects
  • Sarcolemma / metabolism


  • Hypoglycemic Agents
  • Insulin
  • Potassium Channels
  • Adenosine Triphosphate
  • Glyburide

Grant support